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We're raising awareness on rogue traders

Published: 20 September 2022

Our trading standards team is raising awareness of things residents should beware of when employing people to carry out work in their home.

Trading standards officers want residents to be wary of cold callers and doorstep sellers. Remember – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.

We will be posting tips and advice on social media all week, as well as signposting people to further information and letting them know who to report incidents to.

We would also advise people use a Trusted Trader from our online database. Derbyshire Trusted Trader can help you find honest and reliable traders who commit to doing a good job for a fair price.

Unscrupulous traders in Derbyshire are currently trying to sell spray foam insulation or ventilation systems that are just not needed. Homeowners are told the insulation they currently have in their property is likely to cause damage (such as damp) or is soon to become illegal. This is not true.

Another scam involves cold-calling elderly residents posing as builders and offering to carry out roof repairs, driveways and gardening work at a special price. There have been incidents where offenders have also offered to transport the victims to the bank so they can withdraw the money needed for the work to be carried out. Trading standards advise people never to pay up front.

When employing a trader, residents should get 3 quotes – not just an estimate, ask friends for recommendations, ask for a written contract and keep the paperwork.

For large contracts, payment terms should be reasonable with a small deposit and a plan on how the stages of the payments will be calculated and due. There should always be a substantial sum that is not payable until the job is finished to the customer’s satisfaction.

Cold callers or doorstep sellers rely on residents to engage with them, so if people don’t open the door in the first place, they can’t be persuaded or pressured to buy something they don’t want or need. If callers appear official, check them out by calling the company or agency using a telephone number that can be verified. Residents can do all of this without opening the door.

Councillor Carol Hart, our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said:

“I urge friends, family and neighbours to be vigilant and to look out for their elderly or vulnerable relatives to prevent them falling victim to doorstep crime and rogue traders.

“Scams like this damage people’s lives, cost them money and have a detrimental effect on their health. Help us to spread the word and protect people from these criminals.”

Read more about doorstep scams on the Friends Against Scams website from Trading Standards and the Think Jessica website.

Report incidents to the police on 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33.

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