On Friday 24th February, an elderly Herefordshire
resident had their home ransacked by a so-called 'gardener' searching for money. How frightening for that poor person. See Hereford Times article below right.
A few months ago, Katherine Harriet received training on door-to-door scams from Herefordshire Trading Standards so that we could make our clients aware of such scams and how to spot the signs of a 'rogue trader'. We gave all our clients 'NO COLD CALLERS' SIGNS to put on their front door, as a deterrent. We also trained our staff on how to spot the signs of scams, and how to report concerns.
Best be safe and just say no to cold callers. If you need a home or gardening job done, always use a trusted professional. Ask someone you know or a neighbour as they might know someone. If you use a care agency to support you, ask their advice, as they might be able to help you. At Katherine Harriet, we not only have our own fully-checked and trusted handymen and gardeners, but we can also recommend tradesmen. Call Katherine Harriet on 01432 483083 for this.
Local Scams Advice, Concerns & Emergencies:
Herefordshire Trading Standards 01432 261761
Hereford Police 101
Hereford Times Article: 27th February 2017
Elderly woman's home ransacked
You can download an A5 'No To Cold Callers' sign below or call Herefordshire Trading Standards for their advice on 01432 261761.
How To Spot Signs of a 'Rogue Trader'
- Offers very cheap quotes or estimates - this could mean they are a 'cowboy', or could not be experienced enough to give accurate figures
- Unwilling to put a quote or estimate in writing – this could mean they don’t intend to stick to it
- Unwilling to offer references
- Too keen to start the job straight away - rogue traders often do lots of work in one area before moving out of the area altogether. They often leave very poor or unfinished work behind and are impossible to track down
- Unwilling to offer you details about their business – for example an address or landline number
- Claims to work for a company with a good reputation when they don’t - check they work for who they say they do. If they don’t, this means they’re dishonest and you’d be better off not using them
- Asks for money up front - a reliable trader won’t ask you to do this, not even if they need materials. If they run a business, they should have enough money to cover these costs themselves and only ask for payment once they’ve completed the job, or done a reasonable amount of work
- Gives a detailed quote and schedule of work but then not follow it
- Doesn’t charge VAT when they should - if they are a small or new trader, they may not need to register or pay VAT. It depends on how much work they do in a year. If they should be registered, they could be avoiding paying it, to save money and charge less than others. This is dishonest and against the law
- Only accepts cash - if a trader only offers to accept a cash payment, they could be acting dishonestly by saving on paying out for VAT
- Harassment and abusive behaviour - no reputable trader would bully a homeowner into having work done. Increasingly often, rogue traders resort to harassing and abusing homeowners in an attempt to obtain money. Many rogue traders may refuse to leave your property, or continue to call on you when you have already declined to have work done.
- Remember that you have a right to call the police if you think this is happening. Watch out for your elderly friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable to bullying tactics.