Trading Standards officers have issued a warning after a number of complaints of high pressure cold callers targeting Preston and South Ribble.Advertisement
One elderly woman received repeated visits from a trader trying to get her to agree to have her drive replaced. Luckily she did not agree, but the visits only stopped when the county council’s trading standards team intervened.
In another incident, the elderly householder did agree to driveway work. The initial price was £6,000, but during the course of the work, this increased to £15,000 and the gentleman was put under pressure to keep withdrawing money from his bank.
Elsewhere in the county, there have been reports of roofers misleading people into having work done.
Read more: Trading standards news from Blog Preston
Trading standards advice is to always say no to cold-callers. The Lancashire Safe Trader scheme enables residents to find a reputable tradesperson to do work.
Amanda Maxim, trading standards manager, said: “Everyone should beware of cold-callers and our advice is to always say no to them.
“They target vulnerable people and pressurise people into to paying a fortune for work that is often of a very low standard and/or not completed.
“There are still lots of reputable firms out there and you can use schemes like our Safe Trader Scheme to find one in your area.”
Read more: Crime news from Blog Preston
Officers are also warning residents about overseas property and crop schemes, which may offer investors an opportunity to buy a plot on a plantation that harvests crops such as teak trees, jatropha, paulownia and biofuels.
The investment is usually stated to be low risk but promising high, often ‘guaranteed’ returns of around 15 to 25%.
Investors are usually called out of the blue, but contact can also come by email, post or online. Promoters often use aggressive, high-pressure sales tactics.
Amanda added: “People need to be very wary of these schemes. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate the sale of land, trees or crops.
“This means you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.
“Always contact trading standards for advice if you’re unsure about these schemes.”
To find a trader in your area, visit Safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111.
You can report a scam to Action Fraud by visiting their website or calling 0300 123 2040H