How to Beat the Rogue Doorstep Caller
Some people who call at your home will be genuine. Other callers will turn up unannounced and trick you into having work done that isn't necessary or will try to gain access to your home to steal money or valuables. You always need to be aware when someone you don't know calls at your door.
By following simple advice you can protect yourself.
Rogue doorstep sellers and bogus callers will often be smartly dressed.
They will usually have a story to get your attention. They may claim to be from or working with the council, police or utility service providers such as gas, electricity or water companies. They can be convincing and persuasive - That's their job and they're good at it!
Some may even use false identity cards or dress up for the part for example, wearing overalls with a false company logo. But if you are in any doubt don't let them in.
Official visitors should always arrange an appointment beforehand. If you're not expecting them and you are alone then ask them to call back later when you have somebody with you - they will always be happy to do this.
If someone calls at your door and offers to do repairs to your home or asks to come in so they can talk to you should do the following:
Lock Keep front and back door locked.
Stop Are you expecting anybody? Do they have an appointment?
Chain Put your door bar or chain on - It's a useful barrier because they may try and pressurise you or even force their way in.
Check Their details carefully but do not let them in. If you are interested then arrange for them to come back later when you have somebody with you and can give some thought to it.
Rogue builders or gardeners often trick people into paying very high prices for unnecessary or shoddy work. Never agree to have work done by somebody who is just passing or take their word that it needs to be done at all. Never pay for anything before any work is done. Never accept an offer from them to drive you to the bank to withdraw money. If you think work needs to be done then get quotes from other local traders and ask friends and relatives for a recommendation or use the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Trader Register. Visit www.traderregister.org.uk or telephone 01785 330888.
Digital Television Switchover
In Staffordshire the analogue television transmitters will be switched off in 2009 if you receive broadcasting from Granada and 2011 for Central. From then on all the transmissions will be digital and every television will need to have a digital receiver. Digital UK provides more information on their website www.digitaluk.co.uk where you can find details of aerial installers, dates for changeover, and general information. The Digital UK website also has details of their Switchover Help Scheme. Complaints have already been received in the region of bogus callers claiming to be checking aerials. The changeover is being managed by Digital UK and no one will call on a householder without an appointment. If anyone calls at your property claiming to be checking your aerial do not allow them access to your home and call the Police on 999.
Want to report a dodgy trader?
If you have a complaint about the quality, pricing, quantity or safety of goods or services, the Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
They will give you initial advice about your complaint and advise you on your consumer rights. If the issue is very complex or involves a criminal offence, you will be passed on to Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards.
We will then provide additional advice where appropriate, and if we suspect trading laws have been broken, we will investigate and take action if necessary.
For details of traders who are members of The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Trader Register call 01785 330888 or visit www.traderregister.org.uk
They agree to sign up to our Code of Practice which spells out how they should deal with consumers professionally and fairly.
You can access this information as a pdf Easy Read Version (375KB)