TIM DREW: If you’re not sure, don’t open the door

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

This month is Scams Awareness Month and, as a result of recent reports of potential rogue traders calling at properties in the district, the police and Trading Standards have asked that awareness of doorstop crime be raised.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 make it a criminal offence to take advantage of householders by using high-pressure, forceful sales techniques.

This includes falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.

As many as 170,000 instances of doorstep crime occur each year nationwide, the rogue traders often targeting vulnerable residents offering to carry out work at properties which is of poor quality, unnecessary and charged at extortionate prices – sometimes they even drive the victim to the bank to collect payment.

Most reputable traders will be registered with organisations such as Buy with Confidence or Checkatrade.

All the businesses listed on the Buy with Confidence website have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way, while Checkatrade runs strict background checks on tradespeople before they can become members.

If you suspect a rogue trader is at your door, call 999 and remember the slogan: if you’re not sure, don’t open the door!

To report unwanted cold callers in your area or if you suspect they may be rogue traders, the advice is to contact Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service number on 03454 040506.

You can also collect a window sticker warning off uninvited traders from your nearest police station front office.

• The Selden Neighbourhood Panel will meet at the East Worthing Community Centre on Tuesday, May 17 at 6.30pm.

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