Q1095: Can you give advice regarding bogus callers and rogue traders?
- 'Officials' may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, a utilities company, health authority or other organisation.
- 'Dealers' may offer to buy antiques, furniture or jewellery.
- A 'labourer / worker' may say that they need to enter the house to check something or make urgent repairs.
Bogus callers will be attempting to gain entry to the premises to steal, often working in pairs, with one person distracting the homeowner while the other gains entry to the property.
Always ask the caller for their identification and check it, before letting them in. You can also phone to company to verify their identity. Make sure that you check the number yourself, rather than using a number that they give you, as this may be false and be answered by someone working with them. A genuine caller will be happy to wait outside whilst you check their credentials. If you are in any doubt, do not let the caller in.
Some utilities companies have password schemes, so you can check the identity of the caller before opening the door. You can contact your supplier to find out if they provide this service.
These people may use pressure tactics to persuade homeowners to have unnecessary work done or to purchase goods. The rogue traders will often have no experience or training and will carry out poor quality work or sell sub-standard goods for large amounts of money and usually ask for payment in cash.
Here are some top tips to avoid becoming victim to a rogue trader:
- Install a door chain or spy hole.
- Never agree to have work done by somebody who is just passing or take their word that it needs to be done at all.
- Never agree to have work done or part with any money on your doorstep.
- Always get at least 2 written quotes from traders for any work.
- Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.
- Ask friends and relatives for a recommendation.
For complaints about goods and services, the Citizens Advice Bureau provide free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Please see the links in Related Information for details.