Our Trading Standards officers have issued an alert about cold callers offering to clean driveways, paths and patios and are urging residents to remain vigilant
They have received a high volume of reports about callers at the door offering to clean driveways, patios and paths. Reports have come in from the Tadley, Little London, Pamber Heath, Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh areas, but the alert applies countywide.
In order to gain the resident’s confidence, false claims such as; “Do you remember me? I did work for you last year” or “We have been doing some work in the area”, are used.
Residents have reported the callers trying to do a demonstration and being very persistent in trying to persuade them to have the work done. One resident reported the callers starting work without permission, leaving the resident feeling obliged to let the caller carry on with the work, which they then felt bound to pay for.
Work is poor and in some cases not even carried out. Payment in cash is requested. One elderly resident recently paid £780, with little evidence of any work carried out. Another elderly resident attempted to withdraw £470 from their bank account in order to pay the callers. The bank staff were suspicious, refused to release the money and called the Police.
No paperwork is given before the work starts or after payment. Advertising flyers may contain insufficient and/or false information, making any civil action or criminal enforcement difficult. Mobile phone numbers can easily be disposed of, addresses can be virtual or fabricated, even the company names are sometimes very similar, if not the same, as genuine companies unconnected with the callers.
Trading Standards strongly advise residents not to agree to work that is instigated as a result of a cold call. Residents should obtain at least 3 written quotes from reputable businesses or traders who are either members of the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme or a recognised trade association.
Members of the Buy With Confidence scheme are fully audited to ensure their trading practices are legal, honest and fair. All members have been checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Directories can be obtained free of charge by telephone on 0808 223 1133, email firstname.lastname@example.org or by order online
An up to date list of business is available on the Buy With Confidence web site. https://www.hants.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/consumeradvice/buywithconfidence
Traders who agree work at the home of an individual or at a place other than their usual business premises are required by law to provide consumers with a Notice of Right to Cancel, which gives a 14 day cooling off period from the date the work starts. Even if work has started, there is still a legal right to cancel, although some payment may be required for materials already used.
To inform Trading Standards about cold calling, please report the matter to our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. Please also try to obtain a name and address for the company.
Doorstep Crime can be reported to Hampshire Police on their non-urgent number 101 – or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service