"Fire brigade" sales calls

6 May 2010, 06:00

Businesses in Milton Keynes are being told to double check before they buy any advertising space from companies claiming to work for the fire service.

It follows a call to an electrical firm in MK, from a man trying to sell advertising for a safety handbook.

The man he approached explained what happened:

"He had all the patter - he said he was ringing from the fire brigade, but that we were not to worry because we were not on fire.

"He told me we had been specially selected because of our safety record. The minute I started asking questions, he hung up."

Fraser Pearson, from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, told Heart:

"In many cases the people who've responded have actually found to their disappointment either a huge bill has arrived later or no advertisement has appeared. So by association we are now being seen to be part of that disappointment."

If you are invited to buy an advertisement by an organisation which says it is working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, you're being told to:

  • Take a name and telephone number and ask for the offer to be made in writing.
  • Never make a commitment or agree to make a payment on the spot without taking time to think about the offer.
  • Be particularly cautious if you are invited to advertise in a calendar or wallplanner rather than a regular publication that you've heard of.
  • If in doubt, tell Consumer Direct by ringing 08454 04 05 06 or emailing from their website. The number for Minicom users is 08451 28 13 84.

If a salesperson says he or she is working with Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service in particular, or the fire or emergency services in general, you should email the person's or company's name and telephone number, along with details of any offer that has been made, to Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service HQ at info@bucksfire.gov.uk