Dodgy Doncaster doorstep traders target the elderly and vulnerable

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Doncaster Council is warning residents about the dangers of agreeing to have work done by traders who knock on your door.

It follows a recent increase in reports of unscrupulous rogue traders targeting elderly or vulnerable residents.

Rogue traders commonly turn up uninvited offering, roofing work, guttering and fascias, driveway repairs and garden clearance services, with the aim of cheating householders out of their money. Often the jobs are unnecessary or substandard repairs for which the victim is charged exorbitant prices. Sometimes payment is taken without doing any work. The cost of repairs to the unfinished or inferior quality work can often leave consumers worse off than when they started. Signs that rogue traders are operating in an area include the presence of unmarked vans, work on a neighbour’s garden or house starting unexpectedly and work done being of visibly poor quality.

Doncaster Council has issued the following guidance to avoid being conned:

Never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep.

Lock your doors, use a door chain and look through a spyhole or window to see who is there before answering.

Always get written quotes from at least two traders for any work.

Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.

Don’t pay in full until you’re completely satisfied with the work and consider using staged payments throughout the work.

Keep your home and belongings safe during works.

Councillor Chris McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Communities and the Voluntary Sector, said: “Rogue traders can appear friendly and plausible in order to get people to agree to the work but can also be very intimidating.

“Neighbours can help protect vulnerable residents in their area by looking for the signs of rogue trader activity and reporting it.

“If you think you or a neighbour has been conned by a doorstep trader contact Trading Standards on the Consumer Service helpline 03454 04 05 06.”