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Trading Standards - Scam Alert

Alert message sent 11/08/2020 18:03:00

Information sent on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary


Good afternoon,

Hampshire Trading Standards continue to receive a high volume of reports concerning cold callers at the door offering to clean driveways, patios and paths.  Reports have come in from the Tadley, Little London, Pamber Heath, Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh areas, but there is no reason to think that this alert will not apply Countywide.  Trading Standards are urging residents to remain vigilant to this type of activity.

Cold callers are offering to clean driveways, paths and patios.   In order to gain the resident’s confidence, false claims such as; “Do you remember me? I did work for you last year” or “We have been doing some work in the area”, are used. Residents have reported the callers trying to do a demonstration and being very persistent in trying to persuade them to have the work done.  One resident reported the callers starting work without permission, leaving the resident feeling obliged to let the caller carry on with the work, which they then felt bound to pay for. Work is poor and in some cases not even carried out.  Payment in cash is requested.  One elderly resident recently paid £780, with little evidence of any work carried out.  Another elderly resident attempted to withdraw £470 from their bank account in order to pay the callers.  The bank staff were suspicious, refused to release the money and called the Police. 

No paperwork is given before the work starts or after payment.  Advertising flyers may contain insufficient and/or false information, making any civil action or criminal enforcement difficult.  Mobile phone  numbers can easily be disposed of, addresses can be virtual or fabricated, even the company names are sometimes very similar, if not the same, as genuine companies unconnected with the callers. 

TRADING STANDARDS STRONGLY ADVISE RESIDENTS NOT TO AGREE TO WORK THAT IS INSTIGATED AS A RESULT OF A COLD CALL. Residents should obtain at least 3 written quotes from reputable businesses or traders who are either members of the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme or a recognised trade association.

Members of the Buy With Confidence scheme are fully audited to ensure their trading practices are legal, honest and fair. All members have been checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Directories can be obtained free of charge by telephone on 0808 223 1133, email buy.with.confidence@hants.gov.uk or by order online via the Hantsweb Shop.

An up to date list of business is available on the Buy With Confidence web site.

Traders who agree work at the home of an individual or at a place other than their usual business premises are required by law to provide consumers with a Notice of Right to Cancel, which gives a 14 day cooling off period from the date the work starts. Even if work has started, there is still a legal right to cancel, although some payment may be required for materials already used.

To inform Trading Standards about cold calling, please report the matter to our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. Please also try to obtain a name and address for the company. 

Doorstep Crime can be reported to Hampshire Police on their non-urgent number 101 or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.
Message sent by
Emma Page (Police, PCSO, Basingstoke District)

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