CTSI is urging people across the UK to be on guard against rogue traders seeking to exploit the turmoil and misery caused by recent storms, high winds and flooding.
There has been a rise in Trading Standards reports of criminals preying on those most affected by storm damage, with some residents being charged excessive amounts for unfinished or poor quality roof repair work.
When extreme weather hits the UK, legitimate traders are in high demand. CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “We are seeing too many cases of people being exploited by rogues operating in their local area. In any emergency situation criminals will surface and use the desperation of people to cash in and then move on to their next target.
“We urge consumers to follow our advice on how to avoid these unscrupulous traders and it’s also really important to tell your friends, family and neighbours to also be wary of cold callers offering their services out of the blue.”
CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “As always, scammers are quick to leap on any opportunity to take advantage of uncertainty to prey on the most vulnerable in our society.
“Trading Standards will be doing everything they can to protect their local community from these despicable individuals and we urge consumers to report any concerns over rogue traders to the Consumer Helpline so these criminals can be stopped in their tracks.”
David MacKenzie, Chair of the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) added: “Areas of Scotland were particularly badly hit by Storm Babet, and the aftermath will surely provide opportunities to rogue traders who might cut corners with repair work. We would urge those in need of repairs or maintenance around their homes, at any time, to use a local firm where they can. Our consumer portal at www.approvedtrader.scot gives free access to over 1,000 local small firms across Scotland that have been vetted by Trading Standards. In general, if consumers in Scotland find any problems with work done they should contact Advice Direct Scotland immediately on 0808 164 6000 for advice.”
CTSI urges the public to:
- Never engage with cold callers knocking on your door or who call out of the blue
- Be wary of using traders recommended on social media
- Choose a trader that is part of a Trusted Trader scheme run by your Local Authority
- Get 3 quotes from different and independently sourced traders
- Be careful of online reviews as these may not be genuine
- Always get quotes in writing and ensure you get a contract that sets out exactly what you are paying for