Ross-shire residents warned to be on guard against rogue doorstep traders
Trading Standard officers from The Highland Council are calling on residents in the Cromarty Firth area to be on their guard against rogue itinerant traders calling at their door.
Many residents are approached at this time of year by doorstep callers offering to carry out work on their home or garden. Residents may feel that they are getting a bargain but reports already suggest that some of the work carried out this year has been shoddy and overpriced. Some doorstep callers also use bogus names and addresses and claim to be based in the Highland area, when in fact they are not.
Residents have a statutory seven day cooling off period during which the resident can reconsider and cancel the contract, with no penalty. This takes the form of a cancellation notice given to the resident which must inform them of the full name and address of the business and how to cancel. If the resident does not receive a cancellation notice then the deal is not enforceable, the trader cannot insist on payment, even through the Courts.
Residents can request that the work begins immediately but only by giving their written consent. If this is done the resident can still cancel within the 7 days but may have to pay for any work done up to the cancellation. If the work is unsatisfactory residents should seek further advice.
Mark McGinty Trading Standards Team Leader, said: “Every year we receive complaints about traders who temporarily move into the area and attempt to sell their services or goods door to door. The nature of the complaints we receive is mainly about shoddy workmanship and overcharging, but sometimes also about some quite aggressive practices that can leave the most vulnerable people in our communities quite upset and suffering considerable financial loss. The seriousness of this activity has led to us to urge residents not to be conned by rogue tradesmen and to take time before agreeing for work to be done on their home. Don’t agree to anything on the spot, do some research first and shop around. Once a doorstep caller is gone they are usually gone for good, along with your money. It is vital to remain vigilant and to be wary of callers at your home and to seek advice if in doubt.”
Doorstep callers commit criminal offences when they mislead, hide their identity or do not give written notice of cancellation. Highland Council Trading Standards will investigate complaints made and urge residents to get in contact if they are at all suspicious. Highland Council Trading Standards liaise with Northern Constabulary in a combined effort to combat this crime.
Concerned residents can contact The Highland Council’s Trading Standards Section at 38 Harbour Road, Inverness or telephone Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 for free and confidential advice regarding doorstep sellers. Residents can also pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit the Crimestoppers website at: www.crimestoppersscotland-uk.org to make a secure complaint online and find out more information on home security.