COVENTRY Trading Standards officers have joined a nationwide operation to target rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers.
They were joined by police and other agencies in a week-long crime prevention initiative to catch rogue traders and prevent innocent people from becoming victims of crime.
Activities ranged from executing warrants to identifying vehicles used by criminals through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and conducting intelligence-led patrols in the areas where older or vulnerable people live.
Last year’s National Operation Rogue Trader saw over 100 people arrested, £3,105,147 worth of counterfeit property recovered and over 2,400 offences identified.
Allan Harwood, Coventry Trading Standards and consumer protection manager, said: “Rogue trading is a UK-wide problem with evidence suggesting a number of burglars associate with rogue traders to con people of their life savings.
“This can affect the victims’ health and their confidence.
“Thankfully, our Trading Standards service remains committed to tackling the crimes associated with cold-calling home maintenance traders to help protect vulnerable householders.
“Trading Standards and Police Officers patrolled several areas of the city.
“We visited residents who were having work carried out of their properties and spoke to the traders present.
“Every householder and trader spoken to welcomed the initiative as not only does it send out a strong message to those traders who may flout the law and exploit vulnerable consumers, it also protects legitimate and honest trades people.”
Whilst it is not illegal for traders to sell at the door, rogue traders will offer gardening work or any kind of home maintenance work at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced.
They will also use persuasive sales techniques, often targeting vulnerable residents to encourage people into making hasty decisions, and the price originally quoted will go up as further work is claimed to be needed.
Trading Standards’ advice includes:
- Not Sure? Don’t Open the Door!
- Never agree to buy goods or services from people who unexpectedly knock on your door – do not be pressurised.
- Anyone agreeing to a contract in their own home costing more than £42 is legally entitled to a 14-day cancellation period where they can change their mind.
- If you do need work on your property or garden, use a reputable local trader recommended by friends or family or someone who has been vetted and is part of the Trusted Trader Scheme.
- People should report cases of Rogue Traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.