Police and trading standards officers have teamed up to warn residents to be on their guard against bogus workers operating in the area.
Officers want to hear from anyone offered dodgy deals at the door.
Police say that if people pass on information about dubious experiences they will be able to reduce rogue trading.
People are often put under pressure to agree to having work done but end up with jobs either not completed, or done to such a poor standard that they have to be redone by qualified workers.
Herts police and trading standards have offered the following advice:
- If someone calls at your door, make sure that the person is who they say they are. Take a contact telephone number (not a mobile) and say you will call back later to confirm if you want the work done. You can then speak with friends, family, or the police about what the worker was offering.
- Ask where they advertise, or if they are listed in the phone book. Also, ask for contact details of previous customers then check that the details are true and that they are happy with work that was carried out.
- Don't pay up front, regardless of how demanding they are. Ask for a written quotation on headed paper and always pay by cheque. Genuine workers will be happy to carry out business in this way. Always obtain at least three estimates for any work that you want doing.
- If you need to have work done to your property, ask neighbours, colleagues, friends and family for the name of a trader who has done good work for them before. Otherwise, choose a well-known respected company.
- Under no circumstances accompany traders or other callers to building societies or banks in order to withdraw cash. Do not keep large amounts of cash in the house. Bogus property repairers always demand cash and will not accept cheques or credit cards, which give you an opportunity to stop the money being taken out of your account.
The main advise is to never allow any casual caller do work on your property, be it roofing, driveways, or gardening.
Police also want the public to help them by being on the look out for bogus workers in the area. You can contact the local community police team on 01707-638112, or the Trading Standards Doorstep Hotline on 08456 044466.
You can discuss this issue in the forum.
10 June 2004