Age UK has warned that older people in particular, are vulnerable to being targeted by rogue traders as we head towards another predicted cold Winter.
Although door to door canvassing is not illegal, complaints continue to increase against this sort of selling – up 16% last year compared with the previous one. (source BBC).
In 2009 alone, there were over 5,300 complaints about doorstep traders offering to do home maintenance work.
Both Age UK and the Office of Fair Trading have highlighted the dangers in a new campaign which centres around 3 main home improvements areas, which attract the worst rogues.
Cavity wall insulation, roof repairs and driveway maintenance are singled out as the three jobs most likely to attract rogue elements. In the case of wall insulation, they may claim to be part of an energy saving scheme for instance, and charge high prices for shoddy or non-existent work.
Cowboy builders may claim to have spotted something urgently requiring attention on your roof. Because the elderly may be unable to go up and inspect their roof themselves, work that is unnecessary may be quoted for.
And lastly, beware builders claiming they have left-over materials from a nearby driveway job. Be especially cautious if they ask for payment up front as they can easily disappear with your money. Don’t be fooled by the fact they’ve left a wheelbarrow or tools behind – these are relatively inexpensive to replace for the rogue trader, compared to your money they’ve just made off with.
It’s all very worrying – especially if you’re a family member wanting to help elderly relatives get work done.
One thing you can do to help rule out these bogus businesses is to use the ‘Quoter family of websites. Typing in a few basic measurements will give you an instant online price guide as to how much the job should cost.
If you don’t know the exact details, you can always call us on 0845 300 2333 for expert friendly advice – without any hard sell.
Then, and only, after speaking with you from our offices here in Derby, we can pass your details to up to 3 recommended tradesmen in your area. They’ll arrange to visit, measure up and leave you with a written quote that’s valid for 6 months.
What’s more, you’ll be able to read online comments and feedback from other homeowners who’ve received quotes or had work done to help you gauge the right company for you, plus we’ve a series of handy homeowner guides covering every step of a home improvement project free to view online or download and keep.
The ‘Quoter family of websites – stamping out rogue traders not just in Winter, but all year round for over 10 years now.