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 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, report it to us.
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 Trustmark website.
No cold calling zones
‘No cold calling zones’ aim to decrease doorstep crime incidents by specifying a zone in which doorstep callers are not welcome.
Zones need to have three criteria before they can be set up:
No cold calling zones (PDF)
- A history of doorstep crime or distraction burglary
- A vulnerable population
- A defined geographical area
Age concern – Bogus callers (PDF)
Charity collections – Give with Care (PDF)
Nominated neighbour poster (PDF)