Buying goods or services from a cold caller can be risky as you may not be able to contact them if something goes wrong. Doorstep callers remain a serious problem across Scotland and they tend to target vulnerable and elderly people.
How do they work?
The most common types of work offered are roofing, driveways and gardening. They mostly operate during spring and summer when people want to get work done around the house or garden. They will:
- Offer to do a small job much cheaper than competitors. But once they start the work they claim that urgent and more expensive work needs to be done on your house.
- They will want to start right away and offer special discounted deals if you pay them cash now, trying to rush you into making a decision.
- They may have completed similar work in your area to give you confidence in them but they use this tactic to get into the local area. Then go onto scam, mislead and overcharge additional customers in the surrounding area.
- Creating a website, business cards and even having a local phone number and address in the local area to make their business seem credible and legitimate.
What you can do
- To prevent doorstep scams from happening you can request No Cold Calling Sticker from your Local Trading Standards office or from Trading Standards Scotland.
- Always ask for identification.
- Ask for a business card and call to check it exists and that the contractor does work for them.
- Ask for proof of qualification
- Consult local Trusted Traded Scheme via approvedtrader.scot by searching trade association websites.
- Don’t feel pressured to make a decision and don’t be afraid to say ‘no thank you’.
- Don’t agree to start work right away and hand money over right wait till you see proper paperwork.
If you have concerns about a purchase that you have made, contact Advice Scotland on 0808 164 6000. If you feel uncomfortable or suspicious about a cold caller in your local area phone Police Scotland on 101.