“If you’re unsure just close the door” - that’s the key message from Cheshire police as part of its rogue trader initiative.
Today, the force is focusing on doorstep traders who visit homes selling goods and services.
While many honest businesses use this technique – so do fraudsters. Some of whom use clever tactics to pressurise victims into buying something they don’t actually need, don’t want or something that’s poor value for money.
Since January 2018 almost 100 residents in Cheshire have been targeted by rogue traders in Cheshire.
Detective Chief Inspector Karen Jaundrill said: “While some doorstep salesmen are genuine and act within the law, there are others who don’t.
“These people often go door to door offering overpriced goods or unnecessary and substandard gardening or maintenance work.
“Many of them specifically target some of the most vulnerable who are more likely to fall victim.
“That is why it’s so important that all residents are aware of how rogue traders operate and know what action to take if they’re targeted.”
Tips to avoid doorstep crime include
• Always check the identity of the doorstep caller by telephoning the company they are claiming to be from. Use the telephone listed in your local phonebook or off the company website. Do not use a number the caller gives you.
• Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes or the Government Trust Mark Scheme.
• Discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or a friend who can help you find a reputable trader.
• If you do decide to go ahead with the work always get at least 3 quotes before agreeing to go ahead.
• Don’t agree to anything on the spot, or sign anything. Do not feel pressured into having work carried out
• Never pay cash upfront and don’t ever go to the bank or cashpoint with a trader
• You have 14 days to cancel any purchase of goods or services over £42 that you make in your home.
• Ask a neighbour or friend nearby to check out the caller before you open the door to them or agree to have work done. Some areas in the country have ‘nominated neighbour schemes’ you can sign up to. Check with your local police to find out if there is one in your area
Karen added: “Doorstep crime can have a devastating impact on victims both financially and emotionally.
“The best advice for all residents is simple – If you’re unsure just close the door”
Anyone with information about rogue traders is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101, or 999 if there is a crime in progress. Alternatively information can be left anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.