Rogue traders were targeted in a week of action as part of a recent crime prevention initiative by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team and Avon and Somerset Police.
Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high pressure sales techniques. The work is often sub-standard or not required at all.
Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Police coordinated efforts across the authority to catch rogue traders, provide advice and to prevent innocent people from becoming victims of crime.
Trading Standards officers checked trade vehicles and provided business advice as part of the national Operation Rogue Trader initiative.
Activities included pulling trade vehicles over, conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas previously targeted by rogue traders, where older or vulnerable people live, and visiting building merchants to raise their awareness of doorstep crime and how to report potential rogue traders.
Advice and information was also provided on the Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme which contains a register of traders who have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.
Trading Standards staff assisted in over 60 roadside checks of vehicles and site visits. The stop checks included providing advice to traders in relation to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 which require traders to give consumers certain information.
The specific information varies depending on whether the sale is made at a distance or face-to-face in a consumer’s home or in store.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Rogue traders call on unsuspecting households offering convincing deals to try to get you to agree to having work carried out.
“Our Trading Standards staff have been out in force to make sure traders provide the prescribed cancellation paperwork and ensure consumers who agree to work over the doorstep are protected.
“If you accept work from a rogue trader you can end up paying much more than you intended for often poor, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work. Rogue Traders can be polite and charming in order to get work, however this soon changes once they’ve got your money.
“They tend to be particularly active around spring time and will often try to pressure people to make a decision on the spot. Be wary if you’re asked to pay a lot of money upfront or the trader does not have any official paperwork to give you.
“People should also be wary of companies which only supply a mobile number on marketing material as it is easy for them to disappear without a trace.”
Know the law
If a contract costing more than £42 is made immediately in a consumer’s home, then a trader must give the consumer a notice explaining their 14 day cancellation rights, it is a criminal offence for a trader not to do this.
- A consumer has 14 days from when they receive the notice to change their mind and cancel the contract.
- The cancellation must be in writing.
- The trader cannot begin a service (such as carry out gardening work) before the end of the cancellation period unless the trader has had written permission from the consumer. If the work is started within the 14 day cancellation period with the consumer’s permission, they can still cancel the contract, but must pay for any work done.
Further information can be found on http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/trading-standards/rogue-traders-and-scams/doorstep-scams.
The Buy With Confidence scheme includes traders that have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.
To find a trader or to become a member of our Buy With Confidence scheme click here.
People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.