Trading Standards Information and Advice: Beware of doorstep callers in the summer months

Trading Standards are warning people to be wary of rogue doorstep traders offering home improvement services for things like your garage, your roof, your garden or your driveway in the coming summer months.

Although everyone is at risk vulnerable consumers are more likely to be targeted by rogues and so East Sussex County Council Trading Standards department would like to highlight the importance of staying safe this summer.

While canvassing on the doorstep is not illegal and there are many legitimate businesses selling to people in the home, rogue doorstep trading is an ongoing problem in the UK.

Last year, advice service Consumer Direct received more than 5,300 complaints about traders offering home maintenance work on the doorstep, a 16 per cent rise from the previous year.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Work or service carried out by these traders is sometimes unnecessary, of a poor standard, much more expensive than originally quoted or not done at all.

Many people find high-pressure doorstep sellers intimidating. Remember, just because someone has come to your house it doesn’t mean that you are obliged to buy. Even if you do choose to buy something from a doorstep seller, you still have rights as a consumer.

........................

The OFT offers the following advice for people:

If a trader knocks at your door do not agree to on the spot house repairs, or sign anything on the spot

Be wary of special offers or warnings that your house is unsafe

Do not make snap decisions. Take time to talk to someone you trust before you make a decision

If in doubt, call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/doorstepselling or http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/tradingstandards/ advice/complaints/doorstepsales.htm

East Sussex County Council Trading Standards also operates a Rapid Action Team that can intervene if a doorstep salesperson has infringed these rights. To report a doorstep seller to our Rapid Action Team you should contact Trading Standards on 01323 463420 or by emailing trading.standards@eastsussex.gov.uk