East Lothian Council’s Trading Standards team are warning residents to be on their guard against rogue traders this summer, and reminding people about the council’s Trusted Trader scheme.

Rogue traders can seize the opportunity to offer to carry out gardening work, mend or clean roofs and guttering, and wash or repair driveways.

The reminder from the council’s Trading Standards team comes after reports of high pressure sales tactics being used by door-to-door traders in Dunbar and North Berwick.

Stephen Thomson, Partnership Manager at East Lothian and Midlothian Trading Standards, said: “We’ve received reports of some individuals going door-to-door offering to carry out various gardening work and home improvements. We would remind people that it’s never a good idea to entertain door step callers and that work of this nature is often of a very poor quality and overpriced, and is generally to be avoided.”

Trading Standards’ advice to householders, especially the elderly, is to:

  • When there’s an unexpected caller to your door, ask who it is before opening your door
  • Use a door chain if you have it, or if you don’t, check to see who it is from a window
  • If you do speak to the doorstep caller, always ask to see their ID
  • Don’t feel pressured into agreeing to immediate work. Remember - it’s your doorstep, your decision!
  • If you need work done to the house or garden, obtain quotes from reputable traders
  • Ask for your cancellation rights – for jobs over £42, traders must give consumers a written notice that they have 14 days to change their mind. This applies to contracts agreed at your home
  • Never pay for work before it is completed

Local Area Commander for East Lothian, Chief Inspector Steven Duncan, said: "Fraudsters take advantage of those most vulnerable, who are often older people. We work hard with our partners to help those who are targeted, and to identify neighbours, family and friends who can support and be vigilant for their vulnerable neighbours.

"Our Operation Monarda campaign in May 2018 helped to spread the awareness message and we continue to highlight how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from scammers, bogus callers and rogue traders.

"Bogus callers can come across as extremely confident and will try to pressurise homeowners into parting with their cash for a product or service they don’t need. Our advice to anyone targeted by bogus callers is not to engage with them, politely ask them to leave, close the door and contact police on 101."

The East Lothian Trusted Trader scheme, at www.trustedtrader.scot/EastLothian, is a joint council and Trading Standards initiative to help consumers find reputable and reliable local businesses. All Trusted Traders have agreed to trade fairly and sign up to a code of practice, and members have been vetted by East Lothian Trading Standards. The Trusted Trader scheme is supported by Police Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Stephen Thomson adds, “If you think you have fallen victim to a rogue trader, don’t be embarrassed, call Trading Standards in confidence on 01620 827365, or email us at ehts@eastlothian.gov.uk.”

Published: Monday, 30th July 2018