Unfortunately, some traders want to cheat us out of our money. Their victims are normally vulnerable in some way, for example, older adults and the disabled.
Often rogue traders persuade the homeowner to have work carried out on their property. This work is often unnecessary, may be charged at over-inflated prices, normally is very poorly done, and often the trader will charge for work that hasn’t been completed.
Typically it will involve roofing, guttering, gardening or driveway repairs. The rogue trader may bully or intimidate the victim and, on occasions, will drive the victim to the bank to get money from their victim.
Doorstep crime and scams are also considered a form of financial abuse. Help us prevent vulnerable people from becoming victims. Learn to spot the signs of doorstep crime and financial abuse and help protect your patients, clients, neighbours, customers, friends or family members.
The Doorstep Crime Team
Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has a specialised unit to tackle head-on the problems caused by these rogue traders.
About the team
Working closely with district councils, the police and other agencies, the Doorstep Crime Team will provide support and reassurance to Oxfordshire’s residents. Intelligence is gathered to build up a picture of rogue activity, and any criminal offences are investigated.
The Doorstep Crime Team will follow-up on reported incidents by attending when traders are at your door or if they are due to return.
The Trading Standards Doorstep Crime Team will:
- Intervene on the doorstep to support consumer dealing with traders
- Disrupt the activities of rogue traders by sharing information with other agencies such as the police
- Enforce the law and work with our partners
- Advise consumers and traders on the legal requirements and
- Support victims
Advice from the team
Look out for
- Somebody that knocks at your door and has a polite, friendly but insistent manner while selling his services.
- They say, “I’m working in your area and noticed that your drive/roof etc., needs urgent attention”.
- Often they quote a low price without looking at the work required and then charge a higher price at the end of the job.
- They tell you that they have got some tarmac or other materials left over from another job.
- They state that the work required for your property is urgent, and they can repair it straight away.
- They rarely give any paperwork, but if they do, there is often no address, and the details on it are vague or fictitious.
- Although the quote may be reasonable, often, the work will be poor or non-existent. In most instances, the cost is vastly increased at the end of the job.
- They can use fear and intimidation to ensure that the victim pays, even to the extent of being escorted to the bank to withdraw cash.
If in doubt
- Keep your house secure and put a chain on when answering the front door.
- If you’re not expecting anyone and you’re alone, ask them to call back later when someone can be with you.
- Never agree to have work done by somebody who is just passing or take their word that any work needs to be done.
- Don’t agree to work being done until you have obtained three quotes from different businesses in writing – you might get the job done cheaper and better, or you may find you do not even need the work done at all.
- Never pay anything before work is completed. If you want work done, ask for a quote/estimate in writing and contact details, e.g. name, telephone number, address.
- Do not accept any offer from them to drive you to the bank to withdraw money.
- Do not ever pay them with cash that is kept in your home.
- If a caller is unpleasant or you feel threatened or intimidated, close the door and ring the police immediately.
- After the event, if you are in a Neighbourhood Watch area, let your local coordinator know of your experience so they can warn other people.
- Use the Buy With Confidence scheme to find a local business that trading standards have approved.