Say 'no' to cold callers Gloucestershire residents urged
Gloucestershire residents are being urged to say ‘no’ to cold callers, after a number of people in the county were stung by rogue traders.
Gloucestershire County Council is supporting a national campaign co-ordinated by the Trading Standards Institute which seeks to encourage consumers to take control on their doorstep and turn away cold callers.
Launched to coincide with National Consumer Week, the “Cold calling - don't buy it” campaign urges people to download a sign to place in their window or on their door, which warns cold callers to stay away.
The council is throwing its weight behind the campaign after a number of vulnerable residents were overcharged or intimidated by traders.
Victims include an elderly Gloucester resident in poor health, who was visited by a firm offering roof cleaning.
The resident’s son contacted trading standards after he noticed the trader appeared to have done no more than a jet wash and had charged £400 for two hours of work.
The trader had not given cancellation rights and the householder had felt intimidated into agreeing to have work done, and did not feel able to dispute the price. The trader gave a false local address.
The firm is known to Trading Standards and had also used a string of false addresses.
Meanwhile a Cheltenham resident was visited at home by a trader who insisted on providing a “no obligation demonstration” of a product designed to clean paving slabs.
The trader then attempted to coerce the homeowner into consenting to their drive being cleaned and when this was refused, he made veiled threats to homeowner before leaving. The trader also has a website which states falsely they are Neighbourhood Watch Approved.
Last year, 12,000 complaints were made to the Consumer Direct helpline about uninvited doorstep selling nationwide. Meanwhile the Citizens Advice consumer service has received more than 6,500 complaints about the same problem since its launch in April.
Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet member for communities at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "National Consumer Week serves as a timely reminder to us all that we should say no to cold callers. People should do their research before getting any work done on their home."
Eddie Coventry, head of Trading Standards, said: "We see many cases each year where consumers have paid for unnecessary and poor quality work and have too often been charged an excessive amount as a result of a doorstep caller canvassing for work.
“The doorstep salespeople can be very persuasive and determined. But it is impossible from a doorstep discussion to tell which is the rogue and which is reputable.
"The best course of action to avoid unnecessary or over-priced work is to do your homework first and find local tradespeople to carry out home maintenance work. We would strongly advise against agreeing to work on the basis of a doorstep visit.
“Use personal recommendations or traders on our Buy With Confidence approved trader list."
South Gloucestershire Council has also taken steps to crack down on cold callers – last year it launched No Cold Calling Zones. It has also implemented Community Doorstep Control Zones. There are now 97 zones in total.
To find out more about the “Cold calling - don't buy it” campaign, click here.