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Northamptonshire Community Connect 23 Mar 2017 Mild weather prompts spate of cold-calling by suspected rogue traders

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Susan Fletcher (Police, Crime Prevention Support Officer, Northamptonshire)

Homeowners in Northamptonshire are being encouraged not to buy goods or services from cold-callers after a spate of complaints about suspected rogue traders.
The recent warmer weather has resulted in a number of calls to Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards from people who have been offered maintenance work on their property by doorstep traders.

Some of the complaints received relate to cold-callers who have offered roofing work which has been unnecessary and over-priced, and the householders, who are often elderly, have said they felt pressured to hand over cash payments.
In one case, the elderly couple handed over £1,000 and no work has been completed. On a number of occasions, the rogue traders told the householders that they have been working on a neighbour’s roof and noticed that work needed doing on theirs, which was found to be untrue.
Trading Standards are advising people never to buy goods or services from a cold-caller on their doorstep, even if it is claimed the work needs doing immediately.
Instead, homeowners can find a Trading Standards-approved trader to carry out any work through its Buy with Confidence scheme.
County council cabinet member for member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “Unfortunately the recent mild weather seems to have sparked a spate of suspected rogue traders who are cold-calling on elderly and vulnerable residents to try to pressure them into unnecessary work on their home at an inflated cost. 

“All too often, this work is never completed or carried out to a poor standard.

“Our advice is clear – do not pay for goods or services from a doorstep trader. If you do need work carrying out, Our Buy With Confidence scheme will help you to find a reputable tradesman who has been approved by Trading Standards.”
Further information about the Buy With Confidence scheme can be found or call 0300 126 1000 

Northamptonshire County Council, in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, can also provide No Cold Calling stickers for residents and their neighbours. These are available by calling 01604 368100.
If you are concerned about a caller at your door or suspect that rogue traders or distraction burglars are operating in your community, contact the dedicated Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) on 0345 23 07 702, or if a crime is in progress, dial 999.