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9 May 2014, 07:03
There's a warning about rogue traders in Hartlepool after a rise in the number of doorstep conmen in the town.
Trading Standards officers have reported receiving a high level of complaints recently about poor quality roofing work being performed on elderly people's homes.
Complaints have included cowboy roofers charging £1000 for two hours unnecessary work, £1300 for ninety minutes roofing work and £1600 for painting a roof with a sweeping brush.
The rogue workmen demand large amounts of money for little or no service.
These victims are made to feel isolated and often pressured into paying.
Incidents have occurred where victims have been driven to the bank or building society to withdraw the cash.
Rachael Readman, Senior Trading Standards Officer with Hartlepool Council, said:
"The targeting of elderly people to con them out of their savings is a despicable act. People should always be vigilant if approached by an uninvited doorstep caller, and they should always keep a chain on the door.
People should never be pressurised into agreeing to buy something or have work done. Any caller who attempts to pressurise you into having work done immediately should be treated with suspicion and avoided."
Elizabeth Briggs, Chief Executive of Age UK Teesside, added:
"Anyone who has concerns that they could be being scammed should not hesitate to ask a close relative or friend for their advice.
It's important to remember that a reputable company will never pressure a customer into making an instant decision without talking things through with a friend or family member first."
The Council's Trading Standards team is advising anyone subjected to a visit from an uninvited trader to REACT by following the simple 5-point advice plan:
* R - Refuse entry
* E - Explain 'I don't deal with doorstep callers!'
* A - Ask them to leave
* C - Close the door
* T - Tell Trading Standards by calling 01429 523362