Swansea Trading Standards have issued a warning about a rogue trader that is known to be operating now in a number of areas of Swansea.
We are aware that a business has been leaflet dropping in Swansea offering to do gardening work with a tempting discount for householders who agree to have work done straight away. The work may not be confined to gardening; the business is known in the past to have also offered general building work and patios.
This business is known to use different addresses when working in different areas to give the impression they are local, but they are not. The Swansea address given on the leaflet is only a street name and consumers would have great difficulty in tracking them down if the work was not done, or shoddy.
Swansea Trading Standards want to warn people in the strongest terms to be on their guard for this business, and rogue traders in general who will take advantage of the good weather to doorstep householders. With householders being in lockdown there is a danger they may be scared into having work done which they are told needs doing. They may feel they don’t have the choices they would normally have to shop around or be able to call on friends and neighbours to help them.
Trading Standards are asking consumers to be alert to doorstep callers and leaflet droppers and take steps to make sure they are not victims of rogue traders. Trading Standards have issued advice to help consumers who are approached by traders on the doorstep:
- Never agree to have work done on the spot or part with money. Don’t pay cash on the doorstep!
- Don’t let doorstep callers pressure you. Always get written quotes from at least two traders for any work so you can make sure you are paying a fair price.
- Don’t fall for their tricks. They may say they are only in the area for a short time. They may tell you they have done work on your neighbour’s house. They may offer you big discounts if you agree to have the work done straight away. Ask yourself why they are so keen for you to agree so quickly.
- If they post a leaflet through your door, check up on them first. Have they given their full details – is there a full and proper address in case you need to contact them again? Is there only a mobile phone number? Ask yourself how you can be sure it’s a genuine business if you don’t know anything about them.
- If they claim to be fully qualified, or registered, ask them to see proof of this first.
- Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home. NEVER pay them the full amount up front
- Doorstep traders MUST give you paperwork with the details of the work, price, their contact details and information about your 14 day right to cancel without penalty. If they are reluctant to give you paperwork, ask yourself why? If they won’t give you written notice of your right to cancel they are breaking the law
- Don’t pay in full until you’re completely satisfied with the work.
- Keep your home and belongings safe during works.
Remember the Three Step plan
One: If in doubt, keep them out. It sounds simple, but if you don't let someone in - they will go away. Don't let them pressure you into opening your door.
Two: Be prepared. Be in control. Think about what to say to any doorstep cold callers in advance. And keep a list of key contact numbers near your phone so you can check out legitimate callers using reliable contact numbers for them. You have the right to ask all other unwanted callers to go away and not return.
Three: Call a neighbour or the police if you are suspicious of the cold caller. Contact a local relative or nominated neighbour who can help verify a cold caller. If you think someone is a rogue trader call 101. To report a distraction burglar or rogue trader who has taken your money and is still in the area - call 999.
For further advice, or if you are concerned about a trader, you can call the Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.