Aberdeenshire Council Trading Standards and Police Scotland are raising awareness of doorstep crime.
Residents are urged not to buy goods nor employ traders calling at people’s homes uninvited. The elderly or vulnerable are often targeted by those selling in this way and this is of particular concern.
Trading Standards Manager from Aberdeenshire Council, Wilma Urquhart, said
We are coming to the time of year when householders may be considering getting some garden or home improvements.
While it may be tempting to employ someone who turns up on your doorstep and who can start right away, please think about the consequences if things go wrong. We receive many complaints from consumers who have employed a cold caller only to find that the goods or services are of a very poor quality and they cannot then contact the trader to get things put right.
You also risk losing any deposit you hand over, or the price increasing considerably without genuine justification. It’s not uncommon for a quote of a few hundred pounds becoming a few thousand pounds by the time the job is finished, so please be careful.
Trading Standards recommend that you don’t agree to have work done nor sign anything on the doorstep. It is always best to research a business as much as you can first, and certainly never pay any money in advance.
If you are in any doubt as to the identity of someone at your door, or are simply not interested, householders should feel confident in asking them to leave. In most cases, if you do end up contracting at your home or place of work, you legally have 14 days to change your mind, penalty free. This is the case unless you have expressly requested the work to start before this.
Sergeant Darren Mills from the Safer Communities team in North East Division said
I echo the comments of our Trading Standards partners, as we too continually work to minimise risk and prevent harm to householders from criminals who commit doorstep crime. This type of crime can have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable people in our communities and we would urge people in those communities to look out for each other especially their more vulnerable and elderly neighbours.
If you see work being carried out on someone’s property, just taking a moment to check that your neighbour is comfortable with the work that is being done, could save a lot of anguish and money in the long run.
Any suspicious activity should be reported to Police on 101 or to your local Trading Standards office on 01467 536190, or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.