Doorstep crime and rogue traders
The most common tactics used by rogue traders committing doorstep crime include:
- Knocking on your door and saying they have noticed a problem with your home that they can fix,
- Saying they have leftover materials from another job that they can use at your home, such as Tarmac for a drive,
- Hard selling - overstaying their welcome in your home or at your door until you agree to them doing the work.
Not all cold callers are rogue traders, but agreeing to have work done on your home by someone who knocks on your door could make you a victim of doorstep crime.
Rogue traders may:
- Charge unreasonable prices,
- Take deposits and not return to do the work,
- Do a poor job,
- Not give you information on your right to cancel work if you change your mind,
- Take consumers to banks or building societies to withdraw money to pay for work,
- Refuse to sort out problems,
- Offer no guarantees or warranties.
What to do if you are approached by doorstep traders
Not all traders are dishonest, but there are things you should do to make sure you don't become a victim of rogue traders:
- Check their identification and use the spyhole or door chain if you have one.
- Never sign a contract until you have shopped around first. Ask for more time to consider the offer and to get a second quotation. A genuine seller will understand this and not try to pressurise you into signing that day.
- Get advice from family, friends or neighbours before agreeing to have any work done.
- If you have any suspicions or concerns, ask the trader to leave, close the door and call the police or contact trading standards.
- Do not allow any callers or workmen to take you to the bank, building society or Post Office.
- If you do sign a contract following a 'cold call' from a company (this includes a telephone call from the business asking for an appointment to visit you), and the goods or services you buy cost more than £35, then you usually have seven days to change your mind and cancel the contract.
Report a doorstep crime or rogue trader
If someone has called at your home uninvited and carried out work that you are unhappy or worried about, or if you want to report an incident on behalf of a friend, neighbour or relative, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Please provide as much information as possible, including:
- The name of the trader or company,
- Any names and telephone numbers they gave,
- Registration numbers and descriptions of any vehicles they used,
- A description of the traders - how many were there? What did the look like? What were they wearing? Any other details, such as regional accents,
- Details of any paperwork
Find a reputable tradesman
Need some work doing on your home or garden? Looking for a tradesman you can trust?
To find a reputable tradesman, check out the buy with confidence website.