Health board’s concern at high pressure sales tactics

Issued by NHS Highland

NHS Highland is advising members of the public that it never provides the details of patients to commercial companies selling products.

It follows an alert to a member of our Board from a woman whose elderly mother had been called by a company selling adjustable beds and mobility scooters. The caller told her she had been recommended to them by the NHS and that she had won a prize. The caller then attempted to set up a sales appointment.

NHS Highland Non Executive Director David Alston who is also the local councillor for the Black Isle said: “It’s appalling to think that a company would use the NHS’ name to get a foot in the door of an older woman’s house. We never give patients names to private companies to make sales calls or enter them in competitions. If someone tells you this has happened you know they are not trustworthy. Hang up and report the call to trading standards.”

Across the UK Trading Standards Officers have dealt with numerous complaints from vulnerable people and their families about the high pressure selling of companies claiming to offer products with medical benefits. In reality the products often offer little benefit or are vastly overpriced.

Councillor Alston said: “If you are considering what might help you or a relative with comfort or mobility ask a health professional or social care worker for advice.

Highland Council’s Trading Standards Office has advised us that people who sign a sales contract in their home have a 7 days cooling-off period in which they can cancel the order so if you do feel you have been pressured into a purchase you don’t need or can’t afford take action quickly.  Any person who has signed an agreement in their home and is unsure of their rights can contact Highland Council Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.

Consumers can contact Highland Trading Standards in person or in writing at:

Highland Trading Standards Unit
38 Harbour Road

Or telephone: 08454 04 05 06

Highland Trading Standards Service is part of Transport, Environment and Community Service, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.

16 Dec 2008