ADVICE on rogue traders and how to avoid them has been published by West Mercia Police as reports of fraudsters in the region continue.
The force work with trading standards to issue weekly reports and updates on many types and methods of online and in-person fraud or scams which keep appearing.
More and more victims continue to fall for scams according to reports received by West Mercia Police urging the force to prompt residents to remain vigilant.
The police tell residents to be wary if someone knocks on your door claiming to be a tradesperson, telling you works needs doing on your property immediately.
Common claims include loose roof tiles, or a need to clean your gutters – fraudsters will often target areas you cannot always check yourself.
Other tactics include pressure selling, unfair contracts, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements, phoney consumer surveys, and bogus charity collections.
Such frauds involve promoting goods or services that are either never delivered to you, or are of a very poor quality.
Fraudsters may also bill you for work that you did not agree to. There are specific laws about door-to-door sales.
Many are required to give you a ‘cooling off’ period (where you can change your mind or request your money back). Bogus tradespeople will not offer these, or fail to honour ‘guarantees’.
To protect yourself against bogus traders, always ask for identification before letting anyone inside your home, check credentials such as a permanent business address or landline number.
Take control of the situation if approached by someone you believe to be a rogue trader. Ask questions, and enquire about references from previous customers or examples of other work they have done.
Never sign an agreement on the spot, suggest to them you would like to shop around and check other quotes. Always read documents carefully and understand your rights.
Also, talk to someone you trust – a family member, friend or carer – before signing anything and ensure you have an agreement in writing.
Never hand over sensitive information such as bank details or allow them to order goods and services in your name and never pay for work before completion, and only when you are happy with it.