Be wary of doorstep rogue traders
Northumberland County Council is urging the local community to be on guard against bogus callers and rogue traders.
At this time of year, doorstep scammers can target individuals, particularly the vulnerable, with offers such as gardening work and property maintenance.
Councillor Dave Ledger, deputy leader, said: “Some door step callers will be genuine honest traders, but a number of them may be unscrupulous rogue traders, frequently associated with fraudulent practises and burglaries.
“Once a rogue trader has found a victim who will pay them, they will form a habit of calling at the same house regularly, suggesting work to be done on the property, knowing that they have extracted money from them before and believing they will probably be able to do so again. They often charge exorbitant prices for work that either does not take place or is of extremely poor quality. These corrupt traders think nothing of preying on the most vulnerable in our communities.”
The public are being asked to help the council in safeguarding the wider community by keeping an eye on any of their vulnerable neighbours, who may be targeted by these rogue traders, and reporting any suspicious door step trading activity.
David Sayer, Business Compliance and Public Safety Unit Manager, said: “If consumers do engage with doorstep traders, they should always get a full written quotation with the trader’s full name and postal address.
“In circumstances where the work is quoted at £35 or over, consumers are entitled to a 7 day cooling off period by law. Genuine traders will abide by the laws and have no problem with giving you time to think about things, providing full written quotations and returning at a later date at your request.”
If you’re unsure about a doorstep trader call 03454 04 05 06 and discuss the matter with the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, before handing over any money. Never let a trader take you to the bank or a cash point to withdraw money. If you ever feel threatened in any way by a trader calling at your door, you should call the police immediately on 999.
If you feel that you need work carrying out at your house you should use a reliable local trader who is registered as part of the Northumberland and Tyneside Registered Trader Scheme. Details of the scheme can be found at www.traderregister.org.uk