Friday, 14 February 2014

Police issue cold callers warning following bad weather

Police and Trading Standards are warning residents in areas of the county affected by the recent high winds to be wary of cold callers claiming work is needed to your homes.

Cold callers are those who arrive on people’s door stop without prior invitation. This may include tradesmen, and officers are advising that some may try to take advantage of the bad weather by saying work is needed to your roof, fencing or other parts of your home and then attempt to charge an excessive amount of money when very little is in fact wrong with your property.

PC Gillian Syer said: “Many residents, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, find cold callers intimidating and can feel pressured into agreeing for work to be carried out or obliged to part with money.

“We would always advise residents not to carry out business on their doorstep with someone who has arrived unannounced. Go away, have a think about it, consider other quotes and look at references.”

County Councillor Janice Hanson, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for public protection, said: "Some disreputable traders will use incidents such as the recent stormy weather as an opportunity to pressure people into agreeing on the spot to having repairs carried out.

"Every year, Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service receives hundreds of complaints from people who have experienced problems with doorstep traders carrying out work on their homes. Often large sums of money have been handed over for work that is of poor quality, is not needed or is vastly overpriced.

"Our advice is always to say no to cold callers and never do business on the doorstep. Our Safe Trader Scheme can be contacted on 0303 333 1111, and can help you find a reputable trader if your property needs repairs."

Police have issued the following advice to help people avoid falling victim to bogus callers;

•           Be wary of unexpected callers
•           If you are not sure who is at the door, do not answer it
•           Look after older neighbours, relatives and friends; take notice if people are calling at their homes
•           Call the police immediately if you think something is wrong

Anyone with concerns about bogus traders in their neighbourhood can contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For consumer advice or to report cold callers, you can also contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 040506.

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