Warning to householders to be vigilant of bogus callers


Issued by Police Scotland

Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division, in conjunction with Highland Council Trading Standards, has issued a warning to householders to be vigilant of bogus callers following the recent stormy weather.

With gale-force wind and heavy rain sweeping the Highland and Islands last week, householders may have experienced damage to property and will be seeking to have repairs carried out over the coming weeks. Bogus workmen may offer to carry out repairs for a set sum requested in advance, before carrying out sub-standard and potentially hazardous work in addition to work that is unnecessary or left incomplete.
Superintendent Angus MacPherson has the following advice for householders:
"Bogus callers and rogue traders often target the most vulnerable in society and can have a devastating effect on those who fall prey to their coniving ways. It is important to look out for vulnerable, elderly family and neighbours, ensuring they have the necessary advice to protect themselves."
"If householders are considering having work done to their home or garden they should research their options and request a number of quotes from reputable companies, who will be happy to provide a detailed description of the work they plan to carry out and what the price entails.
"It is advisable not to make a decision on the day, even if the workmen use pressure sales techniques. A genuine trader will appreciate the need for a cooling-off period.
"Any suspicious activities should be reported to Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous."

Gordon Robb, Highland Council's Trading Standards Manager added:

“Established firms may well have difficulty coping with the demand following a severe storm and whilst we have not received any reported incidents to date, we would advise householders to be very wary of any trader who cold calls them or has just arrived in the area and is seeking to carry out repairs. The temptation under these circumstances to waive your legal rights to cancel any contract to get any repairs started should also be very seriously considered, especially where you are dealing with a trader you don’t know and is not based locally.

He continues:  “Where any damage is covered by an insurance policy, the insurance company involved will be able to provide advice on how repairs should be carried out and you may even be directed to specific contractors to carry out such work or to obtain several quotes. Policy holders should always follow such advice as failing to do so could invalidate a claim.”

15 Jan 2015
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