There are many legitimate door-to-door sales people but some may not have good intentions. Bogus tradesmen, door-to-door sales or doorstep fraud involves fraudsters trying to scam you after knocking at your door.
Door-to-door and face-to-face frauds
Legitimate doorstep selling involves someone selling you goods or services in your home or on your doorstep. Many honest businesses use this technique but so do fraudsters.
Buying on your doorstep can be convenient. However, a salesman who uses clever tactics can put you under pressure to buy something you don’t want or isn't worth the money you pay for it.
Fraud by bogus tradespeople can take a variety of forms including:
- pressure selling
- fake charity collections
- selling you unfair or unsuitable contracts
- overpriced or poor quality home maintenance or improvements
- potential thieves checking out your valuables once inside your home
There are specific laws about door-to-door sales. Many should give you a ‘cooling-off’ period (where you can change your mind or request your money back). Bogus tradesmen will offer none of these and even if they do, you can be sure their ‘guarantee’ will not be honoured.
Bogus salespeople will provide false identity or contact information making it impossible for you to identify or contact them. If you’ve paid them before, you won’t get your money back.
Even if your bank or insurance policy covers any loss, you’ll still have to contend with a damaged credit rating, continued correspondence over a long period to repair the damage, and the emotional distress and anxiety identity theft can cause.
Be aware of rogue traders as they have no intention of doing a good job.
One such victim who was caught out by a doorstep scam was 'Mary'. Over a period of 24 hours she gave a total of £4,600 pounds to rogue traders. Watch Mary’s story.
Protecting yourself from doorstep and face-to-face fraud
When a tradesman or stranger come to your door, NEVER:
- answer the front door without making sure the back door is locked
- allow strangers into your house if you’re not expecting them
- give access to parts of your house or property they don’t need to be in
- pay in cash or make cheques out to cash
- let them take you to the bank to withdraw cash
- accept anything other than a written quotation for any work
- accept any increase to a price that has already been agreed on a written quotation
- accept the word of a doorstep caller that your house needs “urgent repairs”
If any of these happen, call the police immediately.
Preventing and reporting scams
You can find advice on how to protect yourself and others from becoming a victim of a scam as well as information on how to report a fraud at the links below.