East Lothian Council’s Trading Standards team are warning residents to be on their guard against bogus callers and the risk of potential theft.

The reminder comes after concerns were raised about a person claiming to be a gardener who visited properties in the Musselburgh area.

Stephen Thomson, Partnership Manager at East Lothian and Midlothian Trading Standards, said:

“The individual claiming to be a gardener was offering services very cheaply. While no payment was made on this occasion, the concerns raised are a timely reminder that it’s never a good idea to entertain door step callers. It’s important to be mindful of the risk of potential theft. Even if the individual is genuinely able to provide a service, work of this nature can be of a very poor quality and is generally to be avoided.

“There are some simple steps residents can take to be on their guard. We would also highlight that the council has a trusted trader scheme, which promotes firms which have agreed to trade fairly and sign up to a code of practice.”

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

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.

Published: Wednesday, 12th September 2018