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Rogue traders

Rogue traders are people who call at your door pretending to be qualified tradespeople and offering to do work on your home.

They may seem friendly and persuasive but too often they target vulnerable elderly people and carry out poor quality household repairs to roofs and driveways.

They may claim to know your neighbours and have done work for them but often the work they promise to complete didn't need doing in the first place.

We're working with Essex County Council and Age UK Essex as part of a campaign to warn residents to 'Be Sure at the Door'.

You decide whether you need any work done to our house, not them. Free fridge magnets with advice on how to avoid cold callers are available from your local library and GP surgery.

If you think you've been taken in by a rogue trader, please let us know by calling 101, contact Trading Standards on 08454 040 506 or talk to a friend or relative.

Take a look at our advice to make sure you don't fall victim to a rogue trader.

A genuine trader won't:

  • Call without an appointment
  • Ask you to go to the bank to withdraw cash or make a money transfer
  • Offer to take you to the bank to withdraw cash for payment
  • Ask you to pay in full before the work is complete
  • Insist that you make a decision about the work they're offering to do on the spot
  • Bully or scare you into doing the work

If you do think you need some work doing:

  • Contact a Buy With Confidence accredited trader
  • Get a number of quotes
  • Get a written estimate detailing exactly what work will be carried out, how much it will cost and what the terms of payment are.
  • Take your time to make sure you’re happy with what you’re undertaking – ask a trusted friend/relative for advice or ring the Buy with Confidence number 08454 040506.

Doorstep sellers

As well as calling at your door and offering to carry out work on your home, other rogue traders try to sell poor quality goods for highly inflated prices.

It can be difficult to refuse some sales people on your doorstep and you can be pressured into buying something you do not want or that is not good value for money. 

Simple steps

  1. Check the trader’s identity:  were you expecting them?  If not, but you are interested in what they are selling, ask them to come back at a more convenient time and try to have another person with you.
  2. Take control: you ask the questions and try to remember that it is a business situation.
  3. Be aware that doorstep sellers are not your friends: watch out for clever sales techniques where you may be made to feel like you have lots in common.
  4. Don’t sign on the spot: even if it means that you could lose a ‘special discount’.  Take time to reflect, think about your purchase and shop around.
  5. You have a right to cancel: If you do purchase something for more than £35 from doorstep sales people you have 7 days to change your mind.  This information should be given to you in writing by the sales person.
  6. If in doubt, ask the person to leave: phone Consumer Direct or Essex County Council Trading Standards on 08454 040 506 for further advice.

You can also contact Essex Police using the non emergency number 101. If you feel threatened by a sales person in your own home call 999.

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