As part of National Scams Awareness Month, North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards are issuing a series of warnings to consumers and residents, spreading the word about scams that have cost local people dearly.
This week, Trading Standards are looking at doorstep trader scams which have hit local residents in the past.
Councillor Hazel Chase, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities at North East Lincolnshire Council said: “ Doorstep trading is not illegal, but many criminals see it as an opportunity to con innocent residents out of money, leaving them with empty promises or often unfinished and unsafe work.
“The best thing to do when it comes to doorstep traders, is to say no. If you require the use of a trader obtain at least 3 written quotes and take time to assess them properly – do not be rushed into making a decision.
“Always sound out recommendations yourself direct from family and friends who have used a trader and do not take the word of a stranger who arrives on your doorstep saying they have done work for a neighbour.”
Neil Clark, Trading Standards Manager, said: “These criminals can be ruthless, promising transformative works, and leaving you with a pile of rubble, an unsafe, unfinished structure, or huge costs for repairs.
“There are some very easy ways to spot whether a trader is genuine. For example, if the trader doesn’t provide you with a full name, address and telephone number of their business, then they are likely to be fraudulent.
“Always ensure that you see their identification before considering using their services and when calling their business to confirm the trader’s identity, always ask for a landline contact rather than a mobile number.”
Case Study 1
Doorstep traders have hit the local area on several occasions, stealing hundreds of pounds from innocent residents.
One local resident paid to have a small area of grass cut after answering the door to a gardener. The gardener later turned out to be a rogue trader, and the lady lost £380.
Before the resident knew it, the trader had disappeared, and she didn’t get her money back.
Case Study 2
A local resident paid £16,400 to have block paving laid in their driveway, and for their living room to be painted when responding to a knock at the door.
The doorstep trader paved over the drains, and painted the living room walls with very watered-down white emulsion.
This was a unique case whereby, with the help of Trading Standards, after a 2 year battle and a complex court case, the resident managed to reclaim all of their money.