Press release: Don’t deal on the doorstep

 

Don’t deal on the doorstep

St Helens Council’s Trading Standards team will be working with Merseyside Police next month (April) to take action against unscrupulous con men who rip off victims in their own homes.

As part of a regional crackdown the officers will be reinforcing the message that rogue traders who prey on the most vulnerable – particularly the elderly – will not be tolerated.

Cases of ‘doorstep crime’ have risen dramatically over the last few months, with conmen committing a range of crimes – often posing as roofers, gutter cleaners, tree surgeons, council officials or driveway layers.

Victims are often left traumatised, having paid hundreds or thousands of pounds for work which is shoddy, left incomplete and, in most cases, not even necessary.

In some cases, the scammer will take the victim to the bank to withdraw large amounts of money. In one case reported to St Helens Trading Standards officers, an elderly lady suffering from dementia was taken to the bank, then left to find her own way home in the rain, leaving her cold and exhausted.

Trading Standards are asking consumers to report any cold callers who they may see in their neighbourhoods. So, if any one knocks on your door, or puts a leaflet through your letterbox, please tell Trading Standards as much about the person and what they said as possible and keep the leaflet, or any documentation they may leave. If possible, make a note of the registration mark on any vehicle they are using, as officers can work with the police to track down culprits.

Chief Trading Standards Officer Darrell Wilson said: “Our officers need information from our community to help us stop vulnerable residents being targeted by these unscrupulous traders. We’ve had recent successes in taking action against conmen – after victims, relatives or neighbours alerted us to what had happened. Genuine traders who work within the law and with their local trading standards service will not be targeted for action.”

Throughout the North West, trading standards officers are working to ensure that consumers are empowered and feel confident in dealing with tradesmen.

Residents can find St Helens based tradesmen who can be trusted on our Trader Register at:

https://www.traderregister.org.uk/sthelens/index.php

If residents do not have internet access, they can telephone to obtain a paper copy of the Trader Register.

Anyone with any information about a doorstep trader should report what has happened, or what they have seen to Trading Standards on 01744 676299 or tradingstandards@sthelens.gov.uk