Guard against fraudsters
Rutherglen and Cambuslang residents are being urged to be on their guard during the festive period for potential bogus callers who take advantage of winter weather to defraud.
South Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards team is issuing the timely alert to help minimise the risk, particularly for vulnerable residents.
Thousands of pounds are lost at this time of year to bogus callers who take money for work that’s either never delivered or done badly.
Shirley Clelland, head of fleet and environmental services at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “This is the time of year when traders are offering seasonal work including guttering, roofing or tree cutting services, for example, and some will be genuine.
“However, consumers should also be aware of dishonest doorstep traders who don’t fulfil their legal obligation. This includes taking deposits and not returning to do the work, charging unreasonable prices, not giving cancellation notices, guarantees or warranties. They can also have unscrupulous practices such as using hard sell tactics that cause fear and alarm and even going as far as taking consumers to the bank to withdraw money. These fraudulent traders are also guilty of delivering shoddy work, refusing to resolve problems and costing the consumer more to rectify the job.”
Trading Standards offer a number of top tips on how to deal with doorstep sellers: • Never sign on the spot. • Check the trader’s identity, always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check if the identity is genuine.
• Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home and always shop around for the best price.
• Read the small print and always check documents carefully before signing them and make sure you fully understand your rights.
• Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion before agreeing to have work done. Don’t hand over a cash deposit immediately, avoid handing over your money before the work is started, a reliable trader will never ask you to do this. Think carefully and take some time before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away.
• Trust your instincts, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
• A trader must give you cancellation rights, this should be on their paperwork.
Anyone who suspects a crime, should call the South Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards team on either 01698 455696 or 0303 123 1015.
If a situation with a trader ever becomes volatile, call the police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and ask for a crime reference number.
They can have unscrupulous practices