ESSEX Police are urging the public to vigilant about rogue traders or bogus callers.
It follows an incident in Dunmow on Thursday, May 10 where someone offered to carry out work on a driveway claiming they had spare shingle.
It was reported their van had the words ‘highway maintenance’ on.
Chris Heaffey, from Essex Police’s Crime Prevention Unit, said: “We have noticed an increase in rogue traders and bogus callers recently, who call at your door claiming to be qualified tradespeople offering to do work on your home.
“These people may call and claim you need services like repairs to your roof, lawn or fences, your driveways power washed or repaired or replaced, garden services, or waste clearance.
“They may seem friendly and persuasive but too often they target vulnerable, elderly people.
“They may also claim to know your neighbours and say they’ve done work for them but often they promise to do work which didn’t need doing in the first place.
“Rogue traders and bogus callers will also travel around the county trying to trick and con people out of their money so I’d urge the public to be vigilant and call us if they see or hear anything suspicious.”
Take a look at our advice to help protect yourself against rogue traders and bogus callers.
A genuine trader won’t:
- Won’t call without an appointment;
- Ask you to go to a bank to withdraw cash or make a money transfer;
- Offer to take you to the bank to withdraw cash for payment;
- Insist that you make a decision about work they’re offering to do on the spot;
- Bully or scare you into doing the work.
If you do think you need some work doing:
- Contact a Buy With Confidence accredited trader;
- Get a number of quotes;
- Get a written estimate detailing exactly what work will be carried out, how much it will cost and what the terms of payment are;
- Take your time to make sure you’re happy with what you’re undertaking – ask a trusted friend/relative for advice or ring the Buy with Confidence number 08454 040506.
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Ask for ID: A genuine caller or trader won’t mind you asking them for identification. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come back another time and don’t let them into your home if you don’t want them there;
- Take Control: you ask the questions and try to remember that it is a business situation.
- Be aware that doorstep sellers are not your friends: watch out for clever sales techniques where you may be made to feel like you have lots in common.
- Don’t sign on the spot: even if it means that you could lose a ‘special discount’. Take time to reflect, think about your purchase and shop around.
- You have a right to cancel: If you do purchase something for more than £35 from doorstep sales people you have 7 days to change your mind. This information should be given to you in writing by the sales person.
- If in doubt, ask the person to leave: phone Consumer Direct or Essex County Council Trading Standards on 08454 040 506 for further advice.
If you think you’ve been taken in by a rogue trader, please let us know by calling 101, contact Trading Standards – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/
If you feel threatened by a sales person in your home, call 101.
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