Doorstep sellers

Warwickshire Trading Standards Service advise consumers not to buy goods or services from unexpected doorstep sellers or from people who cold call on the phone. It can be very hard to tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep and consumers may be better advised to keep their door’s closed and their phones on the hook!

There are two types of doorstep seller that Warwickshire Trading Standards are concerned about:

  1. High pressure sales people. These traders, who sell a variety of goods and services including mobility aids, alarm systems and unregulated investments, use pressure selling tactics to rush you in to a decision. They may have no experience or training and could convince you to buy something that is over-priced and that you didn’t really need or want.
  2. Rogue traders. These people often work door to door or use flyers to approach householders. They generally offer maintenance work such as gardening, driveway repair and roofing and quote  low prices which are later inflated. The work they carry out is of a very poor standard and they often use  intimidation to ‘encourage’ home owners to accept offers of work and to pay up afterwards. Rogue traders use false names and addresses and are hard to trace.

Trader at the door? Our advice

    1. Never buy from unexpected doorstep traders. It can be difficult to tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep. You may be better off leaving your door closed.
    2. If you need work doing on your property, follow this advice:
      • Seek quotes from at least three local traders with reputations to maintain.
      • Only deal with local firms with genuine verifiable telephone numbers and addresses. Visit their premises to ensure they are genuine.
      • Go on recommendation and ask to see properties they have worked on (if you can, speak to the owners).
      • Fix a price and be specific about what you want done.
      • Make sure you have everything written down – don’t rely on spoken agreements.
      • Looking for a good trader, but don’t know where to start? Warwickshire Trading Standards has launched a Buy with Confidence approved trader scheme. Traders in the scheme will have been individually checked by Trading Standards for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Traders are only accepted onto the scheme if they pass stringent checks.
    3. If you do agree to buy goods or services on the doorstep, in most cases you will have extra consumer rights.
    4. Don’t get caught out! Rogue traders like to give the impression they are genuine and local. They use accommodation addresses to make them appear local and may use local phone numbers or freephone numbers connected to untraceable mobile phones. Some even have websites featuring stolen pictures of work carried out by genuine traders. They also use the same glossy advertising as genuine traders which may feature large discounts for OAPs.

If you have been the victim of a high pressure seller or a rogue trader or require further advice, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

If you are a victim of a fraudster, or wish to report a scam, please contact  Action Fraud or phone 0300 123 2040.