Devon and Somerset Trading Standards is reminding the public to stay alert to rogue traders after residents are conned out of thousands of pounds.
The shoddy work cost victims thousands more to make good the poor standard of work.
The Trading Standards service has received a number of complaints about unsolicited visits from doorstep traders, including one that claimed to be from Somerset Highways, offering gardening, building and driveway works.
The complaints refer to poor quality work, excessive costs, and even sometimes to elderly people being driven to the bank to withdraw cash.
By law, doorstep traders have to provide written information, including their name, address, how much the work will cost and how long it will take to complete, before a person agrees to a contract.
They must also give written notice to advise people about their rights to a 14 day cooling off period.
The advice from Trading Standards is to not enter contracts with unsolicited visitors to your home.
Take your time and always get three quotes for any work, they say. Also, get a second opinion if you’re told by an unsolicited visitor that you need work doing at your home.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Devon and Somerset Trading Standards, said: “We’ve heard several reports of gangs claiming to work for Somerset County Council Highways and offering cheap, leftover tarmac. They often wait until there is resurfacing in the area so it seems plausible. Please remember, no firm working for Somerset County Council would ever offer to carry out resurfacing of private drives or forecourts. They do not have ‘leftover tarmac’.”
For advice, or for details of approved traders, or to complain about a doorstep trader, call Citizen’s Advice on 03454 040506. Or visit Devon and Somerset Trading Standard’s Buy With Confidence website, http://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/buy-with-confidence, for a list of Trading Standards approved traders. If a person feels threatened by a doorstep caller, contact the police.