Warning to South Yorkshire residents about doorstep rogue traders

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Rotherham Council’s Trading Standards is asking local residents to be on their guard against uninvited callers at their door.

This week, officers from Rotherham’s Trading Standards team were made aware of an incident involving rogue traders in Dinnington and are keen to make sure other residents do not fall victim to these people.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety Cllr Emma Hoddinott said: “Thankfully, in this particular case, the resident became suspicious and the traders fled when they saw him talking to neighbours. But the despicable actions of these people could have resulted in a resident losing a large sum of money.”

Rogue Traders may tell you that repairs need to be done to your home, making you feel the jobs need doing immediately. The work they say needs to be done usually relates to property maintenance, gardening, driveways, roofing, general building work, and guttering.

Rogue traders can often be persistent and intimidating to get people to agree to have the work done.

Sometimes they will increase the price as the job progresses, often not finishing the work, which is frequently of a very poor standard. In some cases the quote is low and then becomes much higher. The work is either of poor quality or is not carried out at all. The common issue is that the work is never worth the amount paid.

People should never feel obliged to accept a quote offered on their doorstep or feel pressured to let someone into their home to give a quote.

Rogue traders rely on people’s trust when it hasn’t been earned. If you are approached by a cold caller, always ask yourself if you would have had the work done if the trader had not called at your door. There are few jobs which need to be done immediately. It is much better to find a reliable tradesperson yourself. Ask people for recommendations and take your time to choose.

What can you do to protect yourself or others from rogue traders

- Be very wary of anyone calling at your door offering to do work on your home or garden and do not let them into your home

- Do not let a caller into your home if you are at all suspicious of them

- Keep an eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbours

- If you think someone you know is being targeted by such traders report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506

- If you feel threatened at any time or believe you are in immediate danger call the police on 999

What if you want work done on your house or garden?

- If you do want the work done, get quotes from reliable tradesmen and take your time to choose. A reputable trader will be happy to let you do this.

- To find a reputable tradesman ask friends and neighbours for recommendations

- Phone a local company, get a quote and fix a date and time. That way, you know the caller is genuine

- Don’t part with any money or a deposit unless you are sure you want to buy

- Never pay the full amount or a large deposit up front

- Ask for a detailed receipt with the trader’s full address and telephone number on it

- Beware of traders who will only accept cash or are prepared to ‘do a deal’ for payment in cash

- Never accept any offers of a lift to the bank or building society to get money for the trader

- If you agree a contract on the doorstep for home or garden work and the value is more than £42 you are entitled to a 14 day cancellation period. If you want the service to start immediately, you can still cancel within the 14-day cooling-off period but you may not get a full refund.