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Cold Callers

Date Published: 06/05/2012

Rogue traders are opportunists who call on people's doors to rip them off. They make repairs that don't need making and talk people into buying products that they don't want. Be on your guard, watch out for them, keep your door closed and protect yourself from their scams, fraudulent activities and offers that are quite literally – too good to be true.  

Who are they?  

They are often pushy salespeople or trades people who offer cut price home improvement services or other products. They are always charming and very believable. They are also very difficult to get rid of if they get through your door. They charge a small fortune for poor quality work, unnecessary repairs or cheap goods such as double glazing or energy efficiency products.  

What tricks do they use?  

They sometimes offer to tarmac your drive, work on your garden, repair your roof or clean your gutters for a low price. They will say that your house needs urgent repairs. They will say they are only in the area for a short time. They will say that they have done work for your neighbour. They will also offer you unbelievable discounts. They then demand large amounts of cash, as the job turns out to be bigger than they thought. Some ask for cash up front and are never seen again. Others will insist on driving people to their bank to pressure them into withdrawing their savings. Whatever they say - don't believe them.  

What should you do to prevent doorstep crime?  

Remember the three step plan. Keep your door closed. Tell them to go away. Call us on 101 and give a description of them and their vehicle. If they don't leave your doorstep or return after you've asked them to leave, they are breaking the law - and the police can arrest them.  

Top tips  

  • Install an intercom or spy hole for extra security.  
  • Never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep.  
  • Always get written quotes from at least two traders for any work.  
  • You have 7 days to cancel any purchase over £35 that you make in your home. If someone won't give you written notice telling you how and to whom you must give your cancellation - they commit a criminal offence.  
  • Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.  
  • Don't pay in full until you're completely satisfied with the work.  
  • Keep your home and belongings safe during works.  
  • If you think you've been cheated, are concerned about a trader or have any doubts call 101 or Consumer Direct Wales on 08454 040506.  

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