Beware of bogus callers!

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - bogus and cold callers.

The housing company is warning residents to be aware of bogus door-to-door callers. These callers may offer services such as garden maintenance and home repairs, or try to sell products

Rogue door-to-door sellers target vulnerable or elderly tenants, who may feel intimidated or pressured
into buying from them or agreeing to have work carried out in their home or garden. The sellers often have a good “story” to tell and can be very persuasive. Once they are in your home it can be difficult to get them to leave.

In some cases people have been subject to distraction burglary after allowing these sellers into their home.

Typically the work carried out is of a low standard, people are charged an excessive amount, or work isn’t completed even when they have already been paid to do it.

Fish sellers may show you a small amount of quality product, but leave you with a large amount of lower quality product, for which you can be charged a lot of money.

You may also end up on a “suckers list” where your details are passed around to other rogue traders. As a result you may then receive an increased number of calls and visits to your home

If you have elderly neighbours or relatives they may be vulnerable to rogue traders so please pass on this advice:

  • If you are unsure about the service being offered, take the time to think. Ask for a business card and say that you will contact the trader rather than agreeing to work immediately.
  • For home maintenance or gardening services it may be better to ask a friend or neighbour for a recommendation for a tradesperson they have used.
  • Look for businesses on the Business Approval Register www.businessapprovalregister.com. This is a directory of businesses providing home improvements and professional services, providing a  safer way to choose a tradesperson.
  • Ask for identification. Most reputable businesses will have a phone number on their ID card, which you can call to confirm the identity of the doorstep caller. If you are concerned about a caller’s identity report it immediately. Contact the police via the 101 emergency number or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 for further advice.
  • Avoid allowing someone you do not know into your home and use a door chain if possible.
  • Never agree to take someone to your bank to withdraw money to pay for goods or services. (Staff in most high street banks are now trained to look out for any suspicious withdrawals.)
  • Fish sellers need a licence to sell door to door, so ask for evidence of this.
  • Place a “no cold callers” sign in your window.

If you are unsure call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.