Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

 

DON'T BE CAUGHT OUT!

 

Home security is very important to all householders, especially the elderly and people who live alone.  West Yorkshire Trading Standards are urging people to be aware that there may be a catch. In recent weeks there have been several complaints about companies using unscrupulous techniques to make a sale.  It is not unknown for a company to falsely claim that they are linked to the local council or social services. 

Recently following an unsolicited call from an alarm company, an elderly, partially sighted homeowner was pressured into having an alarm fitted the day after the contract was signed. The company purported to work in conjunction with local police and failed to inform the homeowner of her cancellation rights.  Worried that she had entered into an expensive contract, which included hidden costs, the homeowner contacted the company to cancel the agreement. The consumer was then informed that she had no right to cancel.

The Consumer Protection (Cancellation of Contracts Concluded away from Business Premises) Regulations 1987 gives rights to consumers when they agree to buy goods or services from a trader during an unsolicited visit to their home or workplace.  The regulations provide a seven day cooling off period during which the consumer can cancel agreements covered by the regulations without penalty.  Traders are required by law to give their customers written notice of their rights of cancellation and the name and address of the appropriate person to contact with such a request.

The regulations apply to cash and credit agreements costing more than £35 and which result from a visit which does not take place at the “express request” of the customer, ie a visit which has not been initiated by the customer.  This includes a visit which results from an unsolicited telephone call by a trader during which an appointment is agreed.

As a result of the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline’s intervention the alarm system was removed from the consumers home.

Martin Wood Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services said “ Do not get caught by such unscrupulous sales techniques. Always read the terms and conditions of the contract thoroughly. If a consumer feels pressured into buying do not sign anything until you have had time for consideration.  If an offer sounds too good to be true it probably is. Remember there may be a catch.

Our Consumer Helpline is available to deal with any concerns that consumers may have.  Lines are open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6.30pm and Saturday 9.00am to 5.00pm.  The contact number for the Helpline is 0113 3 848 848 , alternatively there is a website address www.adviceline.org.uk or a minicom number 0113 2898 265.”

 

For further information please contact :

David Lodge, Principal Trading Standards Officer 0113 289 8243

Paul Cooper, Divisional Manager 0113 289 8240

Graham Hebblethwaite, Divisional Manager/ General Media Contact 0113 289 8218