There is some essential TV viewing tonight!
Hunting the Doorstep Conmen
ITV1 9:00pm to 10:00pm
Conor Woodman continues to follow trading standards officers from all over the UK as they track down suspected doorstep conmen and bring them to justice.
In Surrey, Conor follows officer Raith Bennett as he leads a police raid to arrest someone suspected of targeting a particularly vulnerable man.
Raith then visits a mobile home park, a favourite target of conmen who cross the country offering costly repairs to consumers who are duped into signing
Know your rights with doorstep callers
Have you had any of these approaches?
“You’ve got a loose tile on your roof”
“I can give you a good price to repair your driveway”
“I’m doing a survey”
“I advise on security/home safety”
“We were working next door when we noticed…”
“You have definitely won a prize”
“We are only in your area this week”
“Can you help with market research?”
“I’m selling on behalf of …”
“We’re looking for show homes…”
All of the above claims are used by uninvited doorstep callers/sales people as an introduction to try and get you to pay for services or goods, usually those, which you don’t want or don’t need. Indeed very often the claims they make are totally untrue.
Each year Surrey Trading Standards receives many complaints from people who have been conned when dealing with doorstep callers. These cons sometimes involve many thousands of pounds.
If you pay or agree to pay over £35 for any services or goods that are sold to you during a visit to your home or your place of work, then:
You have seven days to cancel the agreement. Any monies you have paid should then be returned to you.
The caller must give you a written cancellation form setting out your rights when you agree the contract. If the caller does not provide you with this information he is committing a criminal offence and the agreement isn’t valid.
Although doorstep calling is not illegal, by agreeing to services from such traders you are putting your money at risk.
Always remember that reputable businesses generally don’t knock on doors to find customers.
Doorstep callers are trained in high pressure sales techniques and can be very persuasive. But you should always say “No thank you” and then immediately close the door. If the person won’t go away, tell them you will call the Police and Trading Standards.
Always Ask Yourself –
Do I really want the work done, or the goods?
Would I normally have agreed to this?
Have I compared prices?
What if it goes wrong?
Do I know the seller?
Can I really afford it?
Can I contact the seller again?
Do I have any cancellation rights?
Don’t hurry to part with your money – a good deal will always wait.
Where can you go for help?
Fortunately, there are a number of sources of information and guidance on how to handle this type of rogue trader.
Surrey Trading Standards Service operates a Rapid Action Team. This team consisting of highly experienced officers will, when appropriate, attend your home when there is a doorstep caller present and deal with them on your behalf.
If you need assistance please call Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 and they will refer the matter through to us for immediate attention.
If you feel threatened or in danger please call the police on 999
Are you fed up with receiving visits to your home from cold calling traders?
Are you concerned about rogue traders calling on your elderly or vulnerable neighbours, seeking work?
If so, say “no” to cold calling doorstep traders with a Surrey Trading Standards door sticker.
We work closely with Surrey Police and other agencies to help reduce incidents of distraction burglary and rogue trading. Our sticker initiative is designed to empower residents, giving them the confidence to deal with cold calling traders.
We are committed to protecting Surrey residents, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, from being taken advantage of by rogue traders. We want to reduce the fear of crime and prevent residents from feeling pressurised on their doorsteps to make decisions that they may not otherwise make.
Pick up your free pack which includes a sticker to display on your property to send a clear message to cold calling traders. We expect all traders to respect your wishes but if they don’t, they may be liable to prosecution for ignoring you request to leave and not return.
Sticker packs can be collected from your local council office, police station or library. We also hope to make them available through the Neighbourhood Watch network. If you have any trouble getting a sticker pack, please contact Surrey County Council on 03456 009 009.