Rogue Traders are people pretending to be builders or tradespeople needing to do urgent repairs or other work.
They pressurise householders into making quick decisions, paying in advance for materials or do poor work at highly inflated prices. They will cold call and deliberately overcharge for unsatisfactory goods and services or unnecessary repairs.
In the most serious cases, the so called workmen will return to the same victim again and again until their savings are exhausted.
Older adults are more at risk of bogus callers and doorstep rogue traders. They are more likely to agree to work, or to trust people who turn up unannounced and say they are from the council, utility, social or health services, or even the police.
It is more likely they will allow someone they have never met into their home if they think they need help, to use their toilet, the phone or many other excuses. They are more likely to feel isolated, embarrassed and unsure of where to turn if they need help.
The impact of rogue traders
The video above has been made to show just how victims can be affected by rogue traders. While the film features local actress Jane Wilton, the story is based on what some of Derbyshire’s victims have told us about how they felt.
Not sure? Don't open the door
If you really are not sure who is at your door then the best advice is really not to open it. Here are some other tips on how to stay safe when dealing with doorstep callers:
- If you are not sure who is at the door, don’t open it.
- Check the identity of any caller. Confirm who they are by calling the company they work for using number from the telephone directory or a bill.
- Ask a neighbour to come around to check them before you open the door.
- Tell them to come back at a time when someone will be at home with you.
- Before answering the front door, make sure your back door and any windows are locked and closed.
- Use the door chain every time you answer the door.
- If the caller is selling something or offering work on your house or garden tell them that you are not interested and ask them to leave. Genuine, reputable firms won’t need to drum up business by cold calling.
If you would like more advice, why not download our leaflet about rogue traders and bogus callers? There is also a card you can print out and display in your window or door to help deter doorstep callers. You can find them at the top of the page.
What about neighbours, friends and family who could be at risk?
Derbyshire police are working hard with our partners in trading standards at both Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council to protect residents from doorstep crime.
Do you know anyone who you think could be at risk? You can help us protect those who are vulnerable by:
- Looking out neighbours, friends or relatives.
- Encouraging them not to open the door to people they are unsure of.
- Explaining that genuine companies will not need to go door to door to ask for work.
- Pointing people in the direction of tradesmen you can guarantee are reliable.
- Making sure they know who to contact if they are worried or have a suspicious caller.
- Reassuring them that their call will be taken seriously by the police, and will not be considered a waste of time.
Most importantly, keep an eye on people calling in the area or acting suspiciously. If they appear to be using a vehicle, or if a car or van that you wouldn’t normally see has been in the area a while, take down the registration number, colour, make and model if possible.
Report any information about suspicious callers or activity to the police on 101. Always use 999 in an emergency, where you are concerned about someone’s safety or think a crime is in progress.
Download our advice leaflet, or print out our ‘Stop! No Callers Without Appointment’ card for doors and windows, and pass it on to anyone you think might need it.
How to find a genuine, reputable trader
If you need work doing to your home it is always worth getting two or three opinions and quotes first from genuine, reputable traders or companies. This will help you decide if the work is necessary and how much it should cost.
Ask relatives, friends or neighbours for recommendations or use the services offered by Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council to help you find local businesses you can trust.
Derbyshire County Council’s Trusted Trader scheme
Derbyshire County Council’s Trusted Trader scheme can help you find honest and reliable traders who commit to doing a good job for a fair price. You'll find plumbers, builders, roofers, decorators, joiners, electricians, gardeners, retailers and many more.
- If you live in the Derbyshire County Council area, you can find a trader on their website, along with advice and information for customers.
Derby City Council’s Buy with Confidence
Derby City Council’s Buy with Confidence is a nationally recognised Trading Standards initiative. It is the most comprehensive trader approval scheme around, providing residents with a reliable source of trustworthy local businesses.
All Derby City Council’s approved traders have been visited, vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.
Buy with Confidence members must deal with complaints fairly. If anything were to go wrong when using a Buy with Confidence trader, their Trading Standards team would help both sides to reach a fair solution.
- If you live in the Derby City Council area, you can find a Buy with Confidence trader on their website, along with advice and information for customers.
Other tips to remember:
- Ask traders to provide you with written contact details and ask about insurance backed guarantees
- Keep back part of the cost until the work has been completed satisfactorily. This will provide an incentive for the trader to complete the job or put right any problems
- If the work costs more than £42 then consumer law says that the trader must:
- Provide a written notice explaining your rights to cancel the work
- Give you a 14 day cooling off period
- Provide an address where the trader can be contacted.
Citizen’s Advice offer useful information for consumers. Visit their website, www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm, or call 08454 04 05 06.
Latest Rogue Trader NewsAtom Feed
- Officers from the Hathersage Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team are reminding people to be alert after a bogus phone call to a local resident.
- Officers from the Hilton, Hatton and Etwall Safer Neighbourhood Team have been working with Derbyshire County Council's trading standards team to warn residents of the dangers of using the services of companies who cold call at their homes.
- A man who had been calling at homes in Curbar had his goods confiscated and has been summoned to court after he was found to be trading without a pedlar's certificate.
- We are raising awareness of rogue traders after an elderly man handed over thousands of pounds for roof repairs in New Mills.
- We are advising local residents to be alert, and to look out for elderly family and friends, following reports of bogus callers in Inkersall and Old Whittington.