Putting a freeze on cold-callers

Residents are being urged to stay on their guard against doorstep cold-callers offering home repair work – after a rise in alarming cases reported to trading standards chiefs.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council issued the warning in the wake of fresh concerns about traders trying to con homeowners into having roof repairs or other costly building work carried out.

Trading standards officials said residents needing work on their properties should speak to friends, relatives or neighbours to see if they could recommend a trader and always get several quotes to compare prices.

An itemised breakdown of work should be obtained and people should get contact details for traders, in case of problems in the future – something genuine companies should provide in any case.

Residents have rights for all contracts made through either solicited or unsolicited visits, with doorstep selling regulations applying to agreements where there is a total payment of more than £35.

There is also a ‘cooling off’ period of a minimum of seven days, while cancellation rights should be clearly and prominently displayed in any written contract. These rights should also be provided in writing if there is no such contract.

Councillor Steve Goldswain, Cabinet Member for Community Protection, said: “It is a sad fact that there are some unscrupulous traders who will prey on often vulnerable people, encouraging them to have expensive work carried out and sometimes even persuading them to go to a cashpoint to withdraw the money.

“We would urge residents never to feel compelled to sign any agreements or pay for anything until they are completely sure they want work undertaking – and then have it done by reputable firms.”

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