Say no to doorstep crime
Older and vulnerable people
These doorstep traders deliberately target older and vulnerable people who live alone. They call at their homes uninvited and offer to carry out home improvement works or repairs to a property.
Also, people can sometimes feel intimidated and pressurised into agreeing to pay for additional work that they didn’t want or need.
That work can then often result in people having to pay out large sums of money to legitimate traders to have the work fixed or finished.
Local neighbourhood websites
You should also be alert when using local neighbourhood websites where people post about the jobs they need doing, in the belief that they'll avoid the sort of rogue traders who turn up on their doorstep.
The doorstep criminals have adapted their methods and now have a presence on these websites and often respond to such requests.
The traders often use fake profiles and vastly under-quote for jobs to get a response.
In reality, many of these traders are criminals who will charge vastly-inflated prices for shoddy work or for work that is not needed.
In many cases, the trader will start work on the property immediately and then will leave it unfinished or in a very poor state of repair.
What you can do
To put off approaches from rogue traders in the first place you can place a sign in your door or window telling any doorstep callers looking for business that they are not welcome.
You can point the sign out to any unwelcome callers and tell them that if they persist in trying to sell their services they may be committing a criminal offence.
You can get 'No Cold Calling' signs and more help and advice from Trading Standards Service's Consumerline by phoning 0300 123 6262 or by contacting online.
The advice is:
- don’t buy at the door - no matter who is calling or what they seem to be offering
- consider fitting doorstep cameras and video doorbells
- don’t open the door to anyone who turns up uninvited, no matter what their story is - keep the chain on
- always take your time - legitimate traders will not rush you to make a decision
- if possible, choose a trader who has been recommended by family or friends
- get written quotes from at least three traders to compare prices
- don’t pay until the job is finished to your satisfaction
- watch out for vulnerable or older neighbours or family members
- use the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme
As well as the huge financial losses from using doorstep tradespeople, many people also suffer emotional trauma, the onset of health problems, and have a long fear of crime.