Posted on Tuesday 11th August 2020
Residents of Cannock and Wombourne are being urged to be vigilant following reports of doorstep criminals operating in the area.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team has received reports that doorstep criminals (also known as rogue traders, cowboy builders, building and gardening scammers) have been cold calling on households offering convincing deals to try to get them to agree owners to having work carried out.
The prices charged are excessive and the trading standards team is warning that if householders accept work from a doorstep criminal, they'll pay much more than intended and the work is often very poor, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous.
Doorstep criminals rarely provide paperwork so they can't be traced once they've left people’s homes. Names, addresses and business details are often false and telephone numbers don't get answered.
Householders are being advised to protect themselves and never:
• agree for work on their house or garden by someone who knocks at their door uninvited
• give money to or sign any forms for people who turn up on their doorstep
• open the door to strangers or allow uninvited callers into their home
• let somebody take them to the bank to take money out
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture Victoria Wilson said:
It is a priority to the county council to ensure people are safe and feel safe and we want people to protect themselves against doorstep crime. Reputable builders, roofers and gardeners do not cold call. People needing work done on their homes should always get three quotes, never pay up front and should not pay by cash.
If anyone buys goods from someone on their doorstep costing more than £42, the law states that they have 14 days to change their minds and ask for money back. This is known as the cooling off period. People should never give out bank details or PIN and never transfer money out of their bank account if asked to do so for security reasons.
If anyone is you unsure sure about the caller they should ask them to make an appointment to come back when a friend or family member can be with them.”
Doorstep criminals have been known to return to the homes of people who have previously had poor work carried out, pretending to be a police or trading standards officers.
Anyone who feels afraid or threatened by a doorstep caller should call 999. For non-urgent calls they should contact Staffordshire Police on 101.
People can obtain further advice by calling Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or the county council’s trading standards team on 0300 111 800.