Bogus tradesmen, door-to-door sales or doorstep fraud involves fraudsters trying to scam you after knocking at your door.
Door-to-door frauds can take many forms, including:
- Pressure selling
- Unfair contracts
- Overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements
- Phoney consumer surveys
- Bogus charity collections
What should you do if you’ve been a victim of bogus tradesmen fraud?
- Report it to Action Fraud. If the fraudster in still in the area call the police on 101 or in an emergency call 999
- You can report the salesperson to Consumer Direct by calling 08454 04 05 06 or to your local Trading Standards Authority if you believe they have sold you faulty, inferior or overpriced products or services
- Similarly, you can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau about the terms and conditions of any agreement or contract you may have signed
- If you’ve made the payment by credit/debit card or by cheque, contact your credit card company and/or bank and advise them that you’re a victim of improper door-to-door sales techniques and your identity or financial details may have been compromised. They’ll advise you on cancelling payments and ensuring your finances remain secure
How to protect yourself against bogus tradesmen fraud
- Always ask for identification before letting anyone you don't know into your house
- Check credentials, including a permanent business address and landline telephone number
- The mobile phone numbers given on business cards are often pay-as-you-go numbers which are virtually impossible to trace
- Take control by asking the questions. Ask for references from previous customers or to see examples of their work
- Don’t sign on the spot – shop around. Get at least three written quotes to make sure you’re not being ripped off
- If you’re suspicious, why not ask the salesman if you can take their photograph – on your mobile phone, for example? If the person is legitimate, they probably won’t mind.
If you do decide to buy:
- Always get any agreement you make in writing
- Beware when filling in forms or when speaking to the salesperson, that you don’t reveal confidential details that a fraudster could use to assume your identity or take control of your finances. This may allow a fraudster to steal money from your account or order goods and services in your name
- Usually, you have a fourteen-day cooling off period. So if you decide to cancel the contract, act fast
- Think very carefully about having any work done or goods delivered during the cooling off period. You may have to pay, even if you change your mind.
- Never pay for work before it has been completed, and only then if you are happy with it.