Lancashire residents are being warned about multiple cold call incidents that have been taking place over the last few weeks. High pressure doorstep sales tactics are being used on home owners to try and persuade people to pay for poor goods or services.
Static caravan owners are advised to beware of rogue traders selling floor insulation. One resident in Fylde paid £4,000 before realising the work had not been carried out. Also in the Fylde area, information has been received that doorstep callers are selling household goods, claiming to be on a ‘pre-release’ scheme from Kirkham Prison
and trying to ‘turn their lives around’. The prison has no affiliation to such a scheme and this is false.
Trading standards advice is to say no to cold callers at all times and to search around for the best deal without being pressured into making a decision on the doorstep. People can use the Lancashire Safe Trader scheme to find a reputable tradesperson to do work.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said “Everyone should be aware of cold callers and we advise that the public always say no to them. They use tactics like persistent phone calls or visits, which pressure vulnerable people into paying for work that is carried out to a poor standard or does not get completed. There are still plenty of reputable firms out there that can be used instead of accepting the services of cold callers.”
Lancashire County Council is also advising people to avoid maintenance contracts on previously installed solar panels. This follows a report from a retired lady with memory difficulties who paid £20,000 for one of these contracts.
Other phone and online alerts include scam Amazon calls. In one variation, the caller claims the householders Amazon account has been renewed and asks for their bank details where they claim a refund will be issued.
In addition, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is asking people to stay vigilant against fraudsters posing as enforcement officers and bailiffs. The scammers phone members of the public and claim they owe the caller money.
Consumers are also advised to be wary after a number of complaints by people who responded to online adverts for companies offering to supply carpets on easy payment terms. This is actually likely to cost more for customers and in some cases the carpets have not been fitted until weeks after the payments have begun, with a range of reasons provided. Any refunds on deposits are being made difficult for customers to get back.
County Councillor Atkinson added “People need to be extremely wary of these schemes. Card details should never be given out over the phone. The court service may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant of control and may take debit or credit card payments, however, they will never telephone you to ask for your bank details. Always contact trading standards for advice if you’re unsure about anything.”
Contact Trading Standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, 03454 04 05 06.