There are reports of a higher than normal rate of incidents of cold calling around the Harrogate area with associated problems of poor quality work.
Itinerant traders are taking advantage of the good weather to visit people in their homes and there is particular local concern over inexperienced and unqualified traders offering to complete gardening or block paving work. In some cases the work is not of an acceptable standard, on other occasions the need for the work is exaggerated by the cold callers. Examples have also been noted where the work is potentially overcharged and occasionally work has not been completed even though it has been paid for.
Whilst not all cold callers are rogue traders, the public are being urged to take particular caution with sellers knocking at their door.
Trading Standards have given the following the advice:
- Don’t deal with cold callers
- Always obtain 3 quotes, preferably in writing from local reputable traders, ensuring any intended work is fully itemised and understood
- Discuss with friends and family first any intended work
- Don’t be taken in by a slick sales speech
- Only do business with people you can verify eg known address or contact number (a landline rather than just a mobile). If you don’t know who you are dealing with then how can you approach the trader if problems occur.
- Report all problems to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
- Don’t pay any monies up front and only pay at the end of any work once you are happy that it has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
- If you are pressured or come under any level of intimidation at any time then report it immediately to the police
Divisional Trading Standards Officer David Miller said:
The number of ‘cold calling’ complaints varies throughout the year. At this time of year we often hear of itinerant traders touting for gardening and roofing work however in Harrogate and the surrounding areas we are currently experiencing an increase of complaints regarding block paving as well.
Our advice is to not deal with cold callers. Should residents need any work doing to their homes then it is always better to approach local, reputable traders. If concerns arise over the standard of work undertaken or should local residents wish to report suspicious activity, no matter how small, then please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
We appreciate that people choose not to report their concerns for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because they feel embarrassed or they simply wish to put a bad situation behind them. However we can only deal with issues that are brought to our attention and by people coming forward we may be able to help, at the very least we can stop the issues from happening to other people.