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Harlow residents are warned over rogue traders in winter.

News / Tue 4th Nov 2014 at 11:27am

BEWARE rogue traders taking advantage of winter weather – that’s the warning from Essex Trading Standards at the start of National Consumer Week.

Cowboy builders and rogue traders pounce on vulnerable householders whose homes have suffered storm damage. They also take advantage of mild winter weather to tout for business resurfacing or jetwashing driveways and roofing.

Cllr Roger Walters, Essex County Council lead member for Trading Standards, said: “Never do business with builders or tradesmen who knock at your door unsolicited as they are invariably rogue traders who will rip you off.

“Doorstep traders will often try to use scare tactics to obtain work, for example that the roof or guttering is dangerous. If you need work carried out on your property ensure that you ask family, friends or neighbours for help and advice and ideally use a Buy with Confidence trader. Look out for those in your community who may be vulnerable to these traders and report any concerns to the helpline.”

To stay safe from rogue traders, Trading Standards advise householders to get at least three quotations for work before going ahead, never be pressured into signing a contract and do not pay all the money for the work up front.

Before engaging someone to carry out weather damage repairs, householders should always speak to their insurance companies first. In the case of flood damage, electricity and gas companies will make free inspections to advise on safety work.

For peace of mind, householders should use a Buy with Confidence business, which has been audited and approved by Trading Standards. Find out more on www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 for the nearest three Buy with Confidence traders to your postcode.

National Consumer Week aims to highlight the 170,000 incidents of doorstep crime nationally each year and encourages neighbours, friends, families and carers to look out for vulnerable people who could become victims.

This summer six rogue traders were sent to prison for over 28 years after conning elderly vulnerable people in Clacton and Colchester out of over £1million, after they were uncovered by Essex Trading Standards.

Anyone who has been contacted by a doorstep trader and needs advice or is worried about a friend, relative or neighbour can pass on information to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or call Essex Police on 101 or 999, if you feel threatened.

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