Aberdeenshire Trading Standards officers are warning residents to be aware of cold callers claiming to represent local health care teams.
The callers are targeting elderly residents and claim to have intimate knowledge of the victim’s medical history. They will discuss their current medical conditions and encourage the victim to agree to a visit from a health care representative.
The representatives then visit the victim’s home and try to sell a variety of medical aids, such as adjustable beds or chairs.
Trading Standards officers say residents should be in no doubt over the identity of any caller and remind them they are entitled to contact their local health care provider or GP surgery to verify the details, before arranging any home visit.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards Manager, Wilma Urquhart, said
This kind of activity is cynically targeted at the most vulnerable residents. Our advice is never to give out details to anyone who calls you unexpectedly – whether by telephone or by coming to your door. And never let anyone inside your home if they call unexpectedly, until you are satisfied they are who they say they are. We also advise that you don’t buy from cold callers, but instead get a number of quotes and take time to consider any prospective purchase.
Complaints concerning the activities of cold callers can be made to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06, who can pass details of the case on to Trading Standards.
Any further incidents of this type can also be reported direct to Trading Standards on (01467) 628323 or Police Scotland on 101.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations create an offence for a salesman not to leave a home when asked to do so. They also prohibit aggressive sales tactics.
Doorstep Selling Regulations provide for a seven-day cooling-off period for contracts signed in consumers’ homes. If the trader fails to provide the cancellation rights the contract is unenforceable.[box type=normal]
Advice for dealing with doorstep cold callers
Remember genuine callers will not mind waiting. It’s your home – you don’t have to let anyone in!
- 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 the door.
- Be prepared. Be in control. Think about what to say to doorstep cold callers in advance. And keep a list of key contact numbers near your phone so you can check out legitimate callers. Ask all other unwanted callers to go away.
- Call a neighbour or the police. 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.