Doorstep sellers in Highland capital:

Highland Council Trading Standards are asking members of the public to be vigilant following recent report about a double glazing doorstep selling firm operating in the Inverness area. 

On Friday, last week, Highland Council Trading Standards and Northern Constabulary visited a concerned consumer’s home after receiving her call regarding selling practices of a double glazing firm.

The concerned home owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was told by the female sale representative of this double glazing firm, that as a potential customer, she could receive a large discount off new replacement windows to her home, as the firm was already contracted by The Highland Council to fit replacement windows to Council tenants’ homes in her area.   The firm followed up the initial unsolicited visit to the consumers’ home with a phone call, informing her that a male sales representative would call on her at her home to discuss her contract further. 

On reflection, the concerned consumer, realised she had told the double glazing firm that she lived alone and had agreed to a follow-up visit by a male representative to her home.  Worried about having a male caller visiting her at home alone she decided that she no longer wanted to go ahead with the contract and did not want the male representative calling at her door.  Concerned as to what action she should take, the consumer contacted Highland Council Trading Standards. 

Highland Council Trading Standards checked out the story relating to replacement windows being contracted to Council tenanted properties with Housing Services and found that no such work or scheme was in place or is planned for the future.

An officer from Highland Council Trading Standards and Northern Constabulary arranged with the consumer to be at her home at the time of the arranged visit by the double-glazing salesman.  The situation took on an alarming turn when the male sales representative, was unable to produce official identification, informing potential consumers of his name and the firm he represented. 

Bob Jones, Principal Trading Standards Officer takes a dim view of these practices: “ Both The Highland Council and Northern Constabulary are working hard to combat rogue doorstep callers duping consumers into paying for shoddy goods and services.   However, further work would appear to be needed in addressing legitimate businesses who should know the requirements of the law, acting in such an irresponsible manner.    The firm concerned is currently under further investigation at this time.  However I would urge members of the public to be on their guard when someone knocks on their door offering to sell them either goods or services.   Consumers should specifically ask for identification of any caller at their door and under no circumstances sign any documentation unless they are completely satisfied with the claims made by the sales representative.” 

Consumers who are concerned about unwanted callers to their home can contact Highland Council Trading Standards at: Highland Trading Standards Unit, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness or telephone on: 01463/228700 for free and confidential advice.

Consumer can also contact Northern Constabulary on 08456 033388 or visit their local police station if they have felt threatened or intimidated by a doorstep caller. 

1 Apr 2009