Following some complaints regarding door-step selling and rogue traders from the local community, Police and Trading Standards are highlighting the tactics that some traders may employ, and useful tips to protect householders from rogue traders or other uninvited persons calling at their home.
Selling door to door is not generally illegal but when customers fall prey to high-pressure selling tactics or doorstep callers problems can occur. Recent incidents serve as an excellent way of reminding people of how best to deal with traders who come to the door.
Please note there have been some reported incidents of people calling at homes selling paintings, and claiming to be deaf these door step sellers may be genuine but you should always be cautious.
Distraction burglaries are a particularly nasty crime targeting the most vulnerable people in society.
Trading Standards suggests the following ‘Top Tips’ when a doorstep trader or other uninvited person comes to your home:
Don’t believe all callers are genuine.
Don’t believe the ‘scare stories’ a salesman may tell you – they are rarely true.
Don’t believe genuine tarmac companies have loads over – they don’t!
Don’t sign anything or pay for anything until you are sure about it.
Don’t believe special deals, ‘today only’ – it’s high pressure selling.
Don’t allow strangers to have access to your property – “I need to check your taps/ water pipe” is a common trick that can lead to a distraction burglary.
Other reports have included people selling household items door to door, using hard luck stories or intimidation to get a sale. Often the items are overpriced and could be easily obtained elsewhere.
Victims of distraction burglaries should contact the Police immediately.
If someone you are not expecting calls at your home:
Not Sure Don’t Open the Door
Keep your door shut and locked until you have checked the caller is genuine.
Do check the identity of the caller by asking to see an ID card.
Do challenge anyone looking over your property – did you give permission?
Consider if you really need the work done. Think before you decide. Shop around for the best deal.
Do ask the caller to leave you with information to study at your leisure.
Do remember you should be given a right to cancel a contract after cold calling.
If you need reliable a trader, use the Buy With Confidence scheme
www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or Tel: 08454 040506 this is an approved Trader Scheme, set up by Trading Standards and supported by the Office of Fair Trading. These traders operate legally and provide a good customer service.
You do not have to open the door if you are at all uneasy.
Ring 999 if you feel threatened or are harassed by someone.
Lock all windows and doors (Don’t let criminals think they can just walk in)
Do not leave handbags or wallets on show (keep them in safe place out of sight). Large amounts of cash should be placed in a bank or post office for safe keeping.
Use timer switches and low energy bulbs when you go out in the evenings to give the impression that you are at home.
Please look out for vulnerable residents in your community, and report any suspicious activity. 999 for emergencies and 101 general enquiries. You can also report anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111