Trading Standards warning after elderly Northamptonshire lady taken to withdraw £9,500 for new roof

Elderly residents are being warned not to open their doors to cold-callers.
Elderly residents are being warned not to open their doors to cold-callers.

Homeowners in Northamptonshire are being encouraged not to buy goods or services from cold-callers after one lady was taken to the bank to withdraw £9,500 for a new roof.

The recent warmer weather has resulted in a number of calls to Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service from people who have been offered maintenance work on their property or garden by doorstep traders.

In one case, an elderly lady was quoted £9,500 for a new roof and was taken to the bank to withdraw the money.

Luckily the bank followed the ‘bank and building society protocol’ and did not release the funds. An independent assessment of the roof indicated that the maximum cost of the work should only have been £3,000. Trading Standards are now making further enquiries.

Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for Trading Standards, Jason Smithers, said: “The mild weather seems to have sparked a spate of suspected rogue traders who are cold-calling on elderly and vulnerable residents trying to pressure them into unnecessary work on their home at an inflated cost.

“All too often, this work is unnecessary, never completed or carried out to a poor standard. Our advice is clear, do not pay for goods or services from a doorstep trader.

“If you do need work carrying out, the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme will help you to find a reputable tradesperson who has been approved by Trading Standards.”

Trading Standards advice is never to buy goods or services from a cold-caller on their doorstep, even if it is claimed that the work needs doing as a matter of urgency.

Instead, homeowners should find a Trading Standards approved trader to carry out any work through the national ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme or ‘Trustmark’, the Government Endorsed Quality Scheme.

Northamptonshire County Council, in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, can also provide ‘No Cold Calling’ stickers for residents. These are available by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 04 05 06. They can also provide you with advice about your consumer rights.

If you are concerned about a caller at your door or suspect that rogue traders or distraction burglars are operating in your community, contact the dedicated Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) on 0345 23 07 702, or if a crime is in progress, dial 999.

Further information about the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme can be found at https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.

Further information about Trustmark can be found at https://www.trustmark.org.uk