Consumers warned about the ever increasing risk
Throughout July Herefordshire Trading Standards Service are participating in National Scams Awareness Month to warn consumers about the ever increasing risk of falling victim to a rogue trader or scam. Each year in the UK consumers lose approximately £5 billion to fraudsters with this figure increasing year on year.
Herefordshire residents may be targeted by rogue traders who will carry out unnecessary, overpriced and poor quality work; sometimes the finished product is completely worthless even when the consumer has paid thousands of pounds. Every week there are instances of cold callers deliberately targeting elderly and vulnerable residents to coerce them into having unnecessary roofing, fascia and guttering work carried out.
Paul Di Lucia from Herefordshire Trading Standards Service said "The risk of becoming a rogue trader victim can be massively reduced by simply never dealing with any cold callers. This includes all unsolicited calls on the phone, at the door, or even responding to leaflets posted through your letterbox. Unfortunately some rogue traders also advertise in legitimate publications, so if you call someone from an advert to undertake a specific job and they say additional work needs doing, it is highly likely to be a scam. There are a number of simple steps that consumers can take to help avoid becoming a rogue trader victim, these include; obtaining 3 different quotations before agreeing for any work to be undertaken, never dealing with any type of cold callers, asking advice from friends and family before agreeing to work and NEVER allowing a trader to start straight away.
Herefordshire Trading Standards Service has listed the most common types of goods and services provided by rogue traders:
- Roofing work which includes:
- Pressure washing
- Replacement of broken tiles
- Installation of plastic dry verge caps/dry ridge caps
- Repointing ridge tiles
- Gardening and tree surgery
- Fascias and guttering
- Wall coatings with special water proof insulating paint or paste
- Security alarm systems (which come with hidden extortionately priced monitoring contracts)
- Double Glazing by cold calling salespeople (companies often give consumers false discounts deceiving them into paying two or three times the going rate, yet make you think it's a bargain)
- Home insulation
- Mobility/disabled aids (reclining chairs, adjustable beds, bath lifts, mobility scooters)
- Driveway laying (businesses purporting to be working for the council who have tarmac left over)
- Pressure washing drives and patios
If you know a friend, relative, or neighbour who might be at risk, please check regularly to ensure they are not being victimised by fraudsters. If you suspect something untoward then please do not hesitate to contact Trading Standards, you could be saving somebody their life savings and ensuring their quality of life isn't being compromised."
For reliable tradesmen Herefordshire Council operates a trader register of local businesses - This can be accessed online at www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire.
To report a rogue trader or for more advice regarding scams contact Herefordshire Council Trading Standards Service on 01432 261761.