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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Agencies clamp down on county's cold callers

As part of National Consumer Week Denbighshire Trading Standards officers and North Wales Police have been out patrolling the county on the look out for rogue traders operating in the area. 

Officers were looking for offences relating to consumers’ cancellation rights and aggressive selling techniques linked to “cold calling”.

Traders were also given advice as to their legal obligations.

The two organisations also teamed up with Neighbourhood Watch to get out and about and advise the public on dealing with cold callers.

One of the major issues identified by officers is that many residents do not report the activities of rogue traders.

David Smith, Denbighshire Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, is urging residents to be aware and to tell the authorities if rogue traders cold call in their area offering to do gardening, tree cutting, tarmacing, roof repairs and general odd jobs. 

He said: "These traders can do a poor job and subsequently charge over the odds for that work, ask for cash and then simply disappear. They are usually untraceable when things go wrong as they give false names, addresses and phone numbers.

"Whilst not all doorstep traders are ‘rogues’, many are completely legitimate and provide a good level of service, there are some who prey on the elderly or vulnerable members of society."

Ian Millington of Denbighshire Trading Standards said: "The theme for National Consumer Week this year was Cold Calling - Don't Buy It and the idea was to engage with the public and help give everyone the confidence to deal with cold callers. 

"Officers from each of the organisations teamed up and have spoken to hundreds of people at venues throughout the county. We hope that those individuals will not only follow the simple rules when dealing with cold callers but also spread the message to their neighbours and family. 

"Whilst we did not find any issues during our patrols we will continue to be on the look out for any activity which might be attributed to a rogue trader."

Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Pam Gardner said: "No cold calling zones are a good way of discouraging traders from operating in certain areas as any trader cold calling in No cold calling area could be committing an offence. Anybody wanting more information about cold calling zones should contact their local Neighbourhood Watch coordinator on 01745 539208 or via"

Inspector Siobhan Edwards of North Wales Police said: "If in doubt, keep them out is the simple message to remember when somebody knocks at your door. 

"If you are concerned about anybody in your neighbourhood‘knocking’ on the door offering to carry out home maintenance work, then please make a note of vehicle make, model, colour and registration number and any descriptions of the individuals, and contact either the police on 101 or Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Customer Service on 08454 04 05 06, or for the Welsh Language Service 08454 04 05 05.

"Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you feel intimidated or threatened by any doorstep seller you should shut the door and call the police emergency number 999."

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