Reporting an incident and getting advice
Unfortunately, there are some traders who want to cheat people out of their money. Victims are often vulnerable in some way, for example older adults and people with disabilities.
Citizen's Advice consumer service gives general advice about your consumer rights and how to report a trader.
If the matter is urgent, report the incident to Trading Standards straight away.
If the trader refuses to leave when asked, call the Police.
How we can help
The Trading Standards Neighbourhood Response Team works with the police and other agencies to disrupt the activities of illegal and rogue traders.
We help by following-up reported incidents and attending when traders are at the door or if they are due to return.
As well as investigating criminal offences, we use your incident reports to build up a picture of any illegal trading going on in the Royal Borough.
What to look out for
If you buy goods or services at your home costing more that £42 then you usually have 14 days to cancel the contract. The trader must give you written notice of this. It's a criminal offence if they do not.
You should also look out for somebody who:
- knocks on your door and has a friendly but insistent manner while selling their services
- quotes a low price without looking at the work needed
- doesn't give their address.
If the trader uses misleading or aggressive sales practices then this could be a criminal offense. Contact the Citizens Consumer advice service for advice.
Precautions you can take
Never agree to have work done by somebody who is passing your home. Always ask yourself if you would have had the work done if the trader hadn't called.
If you do want work done, ask for a fixed-price quote in writing rather than an estimate, the full name of the trader, their address and a landline telephone number.
Get quotes from a few different traders as you may find you could get the job done cheaper and better, or find you don't even need the work done at all.
Never pay anything until they finish the work and under no circumstances accept an offer to take you to the bank, post office or cashpoint to withdraw money.
Find a reliable trader
The What Trader? scheme in the Royal Borough can help you find registered local home-improvement traders.
The scheme is also looking to recruit reputable traders who want to deliver a high-quality service to consumers.