Bo­gus call­ers

Guard against fraud­sters

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Mur­ray Spooner

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

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