Warwickshire Trading Standards recommends that consumers do not buy goods or services from unexpected doorstep sellers or from people who cold call on the phone. It is very hard to tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep or over the phone.
Types of doorstep seller
Warwickshire Trading Standards has concerns about two types of doorstep seller.
- High-pressure salespeople: 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 into a decision. They may have no experience or training and could convince you to buy something that is overpriced and that you didn’t really need or want.
- 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’ homeowners 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
- Never buy from unexpected doorstep traders
- If you need work doing on your property, follow this advice:
- Get quotes from at least three local traders with good reputations.
- Only deal with local firms with genuine verifiable telephone numbers and addresses and visit their premises to make sure they are genuine.
- Go on recommendation, ask to see properties they have worked on and speak to the owners if you can.
- Fix a price and be specific about the work you want.
- Make sure you have everything in writing and don’t rely on spoken agreements.
- If you do agree to buy goods or services on the doorstep, in most cases you will have extra consumer rights.
- Don't get caught out. Rogue traders like to make you think that they are genuine and local. They often use an address 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.
Support for victims of rogue traders
If you have been the victim of a high-pressure seller or a rogue trader or need further advice, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506.
If you are a victim of a fraudster or wish to report a scam, please contact Action Fraud or phone 0300 123 2040.
Find a reputable trader
Looking for a good trader, but don't know where to start? Warwickshire Trading Standards has a partnership with two approved trader schemes, helping residents to find a professional Trading Standards vetted trader.