Muirtown cold call control zone launched
Residents in the Highfield Avenue and Blarmore Avenue area of Inverness will begin to help tackle the problem of doorstep crime today (Monday 8 September).
Muirtown Community Council have chosen the area to be a Cold Call Control Zone (CCCZ), an initiative facilitated by Highland Council Trading Standards and supported by Police Scotland that aims to educate and empower residents on how to deal with unwanted doorstep traders.
Many doorstep traders operate within the law. However some “rogue” doorstep traders target the vulnerable by charging inflated prices for poor quality goods and services, use intimidation tactics and act as a front for distraction burglaries. This can lead to great financial loss, embarrassment, aggravated health issues and, in some cases, increased mortality for the victims.
Residents in The Highland Council area lost nearly £95,000 in 259 reported incidents last year as a result of doorstep crime. National statistics suggest that only ten percent of doorstep crime is ever reported.
Street signs will be displayed in the area to indicate to uninvited traders that they are in a Cold Call Control Zone and that their business is not wanted. Every household in the zone will be issued with a Residents’ Information Pack that contains a door sticker and information on how to deal with and report an unwanted doorstep trader. Residents will be encouraged to report any incidents to either Trading Standards or the Police.
While it is not illegal for a trader to enter a Cold Call Control Zone, any trader who persists on cold calling, when a householder has indicated that they do not wish it, could be considered as carrying out an aggressive commercial practice which is a criminal offence under consumer protection law.
This is the second scheme of its kind in the Council area following the launch of a pilot zone in Wimberley Way, Inverness in 2012.
Residents within the zone are invited to an open evening in the Assembly Hall at Charleston Academy on Monday 8th September where they can receive their Residents’ Information Pack and ask members of the Trading Standards team about the zone. Anyone who is unable to make the open evening will have their pack delivered to their home.
Muirtown Community Council Chair James Kidd has encouraged residents to back the zone, “The Cold Call Control Zone encourages everyone in the area to look out for each other. I urge everyone to get behind the Zone, display the door sticker and report any incidents to the phone numbers listed in your Residents’ Pack.”
Anyone can be the victim of doorstep crime but the information provided as part of the zone will make the community better equipped to say “No” to an unwanted trader.”
Head of Trading Standards Gordon Robb said: “I am encouraged to see a community take steps to protect themselves from doorstep crime and the misery it can cause. The relationship between Trading Standards and the public is an essential part of tackling this issue. It has been demonstrated that Cold Call Control Zones create a strong link between groups with an interest in tackling rogue doorstep traders.”