Trading Standards officers in West Yorkshire are warning consumers to be extra vigilant when contracting with traders to deal with storm damage.
Following the ferocious winds which have battered the country and left a trail of destruction across the area, a warning about the dangers of unscrupulous doorstep sellers is being issued, as rogue traders arrive on doorsteps offering shoddy services.
Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “Previous years have demonstrated that whilst rogue traders operate throughout the year, there is likely to be an increase in the numbers operating now to carry out roofing work.
“Typical scams include claims that tiles or chimneys are loose and dangerous, or that leaks will occur and damage properties.
“Large sums of money are also charged for small amounts of gardening work, to clear away leaves, shrubs and trees following unsettled weather.
“As a result, we would urge people not to deal with doorstep traders.
“If householders wish to report doorstep callers, they should contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.”
“The warning comes as we enter a period where uninvited, rogue traders seek to take advantage of the unsettled weather by targeting vulnerable consumers for household repairs and jobs, such as roofing work and garden clearance services.
“All too often the story ends with householders being cheated out of their money and being left with an unsatisfactory job, usually requiring further remedial work. “
Communities are warned to be cautious and to look out for vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours and to ensure that unscrupulous rogue traders are unsuccessful in taking advantage of others’ misfortune.
Over the past two months, Consumer Direct in Yorkshire and the Humber, the government funded advice service, has received over 700 complaints directly relating to problems relating to home improvements with roofing, insulation and guttering work being among the most common complaints.
Trading Standards services throughout the region are committed to tackling doorstep crime and use a variety of initiatives to deal with offenders and to protect communities.
Councillor Neil Taggart, Chair of West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said: “Although door-to-door canvassing is not illegal, we should be extra alert to what is happening in our communities.
“By being on the look-out for people who may be offering work and services on our streets, we can stop people we know from becoming victims of rogue traders.”