People are being urged to be on their guard after a spate of cold calling doorstep traders who carry out poor quality work.
Bedford Borough Council has received reports of ‘builders’ and ‘roof specialist’ trying to pressurise householders into agreeing to have works carried out at their homes.
It has been reported that the works carried out have been of poor quality.
Pressuring consumers may be considered illegal under current protection legislation, warns the council’s trading standards department.
In a recent case, the council environmental health and trading standards team acted on intelligence received from residents regarding a trader in the borough who had carried out some roofing and guttering work after pressuring the householder.
Thanks to the vigilant resident, who alerted Neighbourhood Watch, council officers were able to intervene and challenge the trading tactics being used by the roofing company.
Councillor Colleen Atkins, who oversees community safety and regulatory services, said: “I congratulate the resident who reported the cold calling trader to Neighbourhood Watch which resulted in a successful intervention by the council.”
“It is unfortunate that some traders aim to exploit residents, some of whom are vulnerable, in order to gain money either by deception or misrepresentation. Agreeing to pay for any service on the basis of a doorstep visit carries risks and we would strongly advise residents not to do this.
“It is important to remember that all traders are required to provide paperwork confirming a statutory seven day cooling-off period providing the consumer the opportunity to change their mind so you should never feel rushed or pressured into having work carried out.”
“Neighbourhood Watch has an important role in reporting cold callers or suspicious people who knock at your door unexpectedly. Don’t hesitate to report them to the police immediately.”
To report an incident please contact Bedfordshire Police on 101, or for further information please contact environmental health & trading standards at Bedford Borough Council on 01234 718099 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
To obtain an ‘Uninvited Trader Warning’ sticker for your front door, contact Lynne Arch, Neighbourhood Watch administrator, on 01234 842 043.