In the last few days reports have been received from across Cornwall concerning doorstep scams, hard-sell salesmen and ‘back-of-a-van’ sellers. The number and range of frauds suggests that Cornwall is experiencing another spate of crime targeted at home-owners and in particular the elderly or vulnerable.
The types of goods and services that are often offered by Rogue Traders include:
- Roofing, guttering or fascia boards
- Carpet cleaning
- Tree surgery or gardening
- Driveway repairs or surfacing (both tarmac and block paving)
- Minor building works or odd jobs
- Painting, decorating or exterior wall treatments
- Power washing – roofs and driveways
- Cheap, unsafe power tools or white goods sold from the back of a van
- Unsafe Sofas
Speaking to Roseland Online Fair Trading Team Manager, Nigel Strick explained: “We have received complaints about gangs offering to tarmac driveways with ‘leftovers’, about mobility-aid/recliner chairs salesmen spending hours and hours in a consumer’s home to force them to sign an order and about a gang selling ‘white goods’ out of the back of a van.
“Trading Standards already has a number of rogue trader investigations ongoing, but we fear that the number of complaints we get is simply the tip of the iceberg as victims are often too embarrassed or afraid to come forward. If you think you have fallen victim to doorstep fraud or telephone/mail scam contact Trading Standards for assistance on 0300 1234 191.”
Reinforcing the message, Councillor Julian German told Roseland Online: “The best way of preventing this type of attack on Cornwall’s residents is to ensure that the public never deals with anyone who turns up at the front door or who rings out of the blue without an appointment.”
“No Cold Caller” stickers and leaflets are also available free of charge from Trading Standards. For your copy just email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor German continued, “The criminals often prey on the fears of home owners who are worried about maintaining their property or persuaded into thinking they will get a good deal if they agree immediately. In the last few years we have seen some very serious cases in Cornwall, where vulnerable victims have been conned out of large sums of money for poor/non-existent work or goods that were unsafe.
“The key message we want to get out is simple: Not Sure? Don’t Open the Door!”
Please keep Roseland Online up to date of any local experiences, so we can warn everyone immediately using our social media feeds.