Rogue trader warning

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 

POLICE have warned Isle of Wight residents to watch out for rogue traders after an elderly woman was targeted by a conman.

The 90-year-old Sandown woman was approached by the man last Friday (July 19) and asked for money in exchange for unnecessary work., however the victim did not hand over any cash.

DS John Walton, from Newport CID, said: "Rogue traders specifically target those who they deem to be vulnerable within our communities.

"They will often offer to carry out repairs, vastly overcharging for unnecessary, shoddy or even non-existent work.

"We would like to ask carers of vulnerable people to check on their well being and if they have seen or heard anything suspicious to report it to police on 101."

Police issued the following advice:

•Take care in hot weather to make sure all doors and windows are secured if you leave your house, even if you are out for a few moments or working in your garden.

•Don't open the door to anyone before you've checked who it is — look out of the window or use a spy hole in your door. If you open the door, keep the chain on while you find out who is calling and what they want. If you're not expecting someone and you don't know them, don't let them into your home, no matter what they say to you.

•If a caller is genuine they will understand your concerns. If someone claims to be from a company, such as a gas or electricity provider, always double check their identity.

•If you have any concerns about someone who has called at your door, call police immediately. If you have a chance try to note what they look like and any vehicle they have with them, so police can investigate.

•If you think you need to have work done to your home, ask for quotes from two or three reputable companies. •Friends and relatives may be able to recommend companies or trades people.

•Rogue traders are known to 'cold call’ on vulnerable/elderly Island residents and are unqualified 'conmen’ who will overcharge for unnecessary services/repairs and their work will be of poor quality.

•Never pay upfront to cold callers as it is likely you will not see them, or your money, again.

•Consumer legislation requires cold callers to give consumers a 'Cancellation Notice’ giving them a seven day cooling-off period during which they can cancel the contract.

•Trading Standards runs a trader approval scheme, where local traders are vetted for compliance with consumer legislation; for information contact Trading Standards on 01983 823370 or www.iwbuywithconfidence.info.

•Please be vigilant if you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and report your concerns to the police on 101 or the Trading Standards Service hotline on 01983 823371.

Trading standards officer Julie Woodhouse said: "Island residents should always be very wary of rogue traders who will cold call, as in our experience they are often unqualified conmen who will overcharge for unnecessary repairs or services which will be of poor quality.

"These conmen offer services including gardening work, house maintenance, driveways, steam cleaning roofs, to name a few. Never pay upfront to cold callers, and if you require work doing to your home always try to obtain at least two written quotes.

"We are committed, with the support of the police, to protecting Island residents and will take enforcement action, including prosecution, against rogue traders."

Anyone with information about the incident in which the elderly Sandown woman was targeted is asked to contact DS Walton by phoning 101. Mini-Com users can call the police on 18001 101. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

View our Elgin Traffic & Travel Map