Date Published: 23/11/2020
On behalf of Beds. Police:
Bedfordshire Police has had recent reports of Rogue Traders cold calling in this area. They are offering driveway services and have been operating under the name of Prestige Drives and Roofing although this can change.
How rogue traders operate:
Cold call at the doorstep offering services such as gutter cleaning, gardening, house maintenance, jet washing, driveway, paving etc.
Befriend the homeowner by various means (e.g. claim to have been before or claim they are working up the street). Many victims say "He was such a nice man".
Start with small jobs such as cleaning the gutters for £15 and then claim further work is needed (which they will not quote for), then demand £000’s, often for no or very little work.
Make fraudulent claims e.g. claim moss on a roof causes damage and needs to be washed off, painting a roof is necessary to protect it etc.
Return again and again to vulnerable victims demanding further payment for bogus reasons (e.g. claiming that VAT has not been paid, claim to be Trading Standards officers and offer to refund the victim with a cheque once the victim has given them more cash).
Use intimidation to extort money and often take the homeowner to a bank or cashpoint to withdraw cash.
Avoiding rogue traders:
-get a security chain fixed to your door and use it when answering
check the identity of the caller by asking to see an ID card and checking the telephone number in your own directory
consider if you really need the work done - shop around for the best deal, where possible using a trader from the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme or using a trader recommended to you (get three quotes to make sure you are being quoted a fair price)
-insist that you are given the quote in writing
ask the caller to leave you with information to study at your leisure
don't let them into your home (no matter how friendly they seem) and don't be tempted by 'today only' offers (this is pressure selling)
-remember that if you enter into a contract in your home for work costing £42 or more you have 14 days to cancel by writing to the trader (even if the work has started), unless you have asked the trader around specifically to carry out emergency repairs or maintenance. If you haven't been given information on your right to cancel, then you can cancel up to 54 weeks from the agreement date.
Be Savvy with your money but remember that if seems too good to be true it probably is,