Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service
 

COLD CALLING GIVEN THE COLD SHOULDER

Last November during National Consumer Week, the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service was one of fifteen local authorities involved in a major survey into doorstep selling.

Nearly 9,000 randomly selected householders reported back and their response was emphatic with only:

0.1% (1 in 1000) saying that they actually welcomed doorstep sellers calling

and a staggering

95.7% saying that they did not want such calls.

The survey also showed the high level of cold calling with 61.5% of householders reporting that they had received a cold call in the previous 3 months. Disturbingly almost 25% reported that they had had a bad experience with cold calling doorstep sellers in the past 2 years, with only one in six reporting that bad experience to the authorities.

The highest levels of problems were in relation to energy sellers (gas and electric) and the property repair, maintenance and improvements. 5.6% of respondents said they had had a bad experience with energy sellers and 9.7% with property repairs.

Assuming these figures were representative throughout the UK, this would mean that 1.4 million people would have had problems with energy sellers and 2.4 million with property repair callers.

As a result of this the Trading Standards Institute is today calling for a ban on the cold calling of property repairs, maintenance and improvements. West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is supporting that call.

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute said “Up and down the country, householders have been ripped off for large amounts of money by unscrupulous criminals passing themselves off as roofers, gardeners and property improvement businesses. Often using false names and addresses they leave distressed, bewildered and frightened people with little or no chance of redress.

“With the rising aged population and increased home ownership, this is an area long overdue for strict legal control. The public, honest businesses and enforcement authorities are unanimous in their view that it is time to take firm action and ban the cold calling of property repairs, maintenance and improvements”.

Ann Robinson, Chair of the energy regulator Energywatch said: “The TSI survey highlights the distress that cold calling causes and we urge any consumer who has had a bad experience with a energy sales representative to contact Engergywatch.”

Ron Gainsford added: “Reports, leaflets and codes of practice are all positive means of educating consumers, but if we are to protect the vulnerable, older person from the professional experienced conman we need firm action and that is why we are calling for a outright ban on property repairs, maintenance and improvements cold calling”.

Martin Wood, West Yorkshire’s Chief Trading Standards Officer said, “The views of West Yorkshire householders reflected the national picture. They told us they did not want cold callers on their doorstep and that is why we are supporting the Institute’s call for a ban. We receive too many complaints about tarmac drives, roof repairs, home improvements and security systems and such a ban would significantly reduce the number of them”.


For further information please contact:

Paul Smith, Principal Officer Tel: 0113 2898 219
Paul Cooper, Divisional Manager Tel: 0113 289 8240
Graham Hebblethwaite Divisional Manager/ General Media Contact 0113 289 8218

Notes for Editors

For information and to speak to a victim of cold calling contact Paul Smith on
0113 2898 219