Rogue trader warning as pensioner, 90, saved from losing £3,500 in '˜questionable' roof insulation contract

A 90-year-old nearly lost £3,500 in a '˜questionable' transaction in roof insulation contract, Trading Standards have warned.Â

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 12:10 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:01 pm
File photo

Portsmouth City Council"s team and police visited the Cosham pensioner on Thursday after the near-victim alerted authorities.

Officers dealt with the trader, who has not been named, and cancelled the contract worth more than £3,500.

The resident was worried about '˜losing money unnecessarily,' the council said in a statement.

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Councillor Dave Ashmore, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said. '˜We advise Portsmouth residents to be extra vigilant during this unprecedented peak of hot weather.

'˜Please keep an eye on elderly relatives, friends, and neighbours who may be confined to their homes and subject to visits by unscrupulous traders.  

'˜This intervention demonstrates the commitment and efficiency of our Trading Standards team, and I am delighted that the resident has been helped in this way.'

Now the council has issued tips on how to avoid being conned:

Avoid dealing with cold callers. Whilst many are genuine, some do take advantage and exploit vulnerable people by using high pressure sales techniques and illegal trading practices. Residents should always obtain a written agreement from the trader for the proposed work, which details the schedule of works, estimated time frame for completion and the total cost they will be liable to pay, inclusive of VAT.  Be cautious when filling in documents or signing paperwork, especially if you feel under pressure. You can always ask for a family member, friend or neighbour to be present.   Do not pay for work that has not been completed. When you do pay, avoid using cash and only pay if you are happy with what has been completed. Do not be convinced to hand over cash if the trader is offering a discount. It is recommended work is paid for by cheque or credit card, which are traceable. If a contract price is over the value of £42, you should be given a 14 day cooling off period, in writing. There is a legal requirement for a trader to provide you with a notice outlining your statutory right to cancel the contract. If work starts within the 14 day cooling off period, you are still entitled to cancel it and would only be liable to pay the reasonable costs of the work completed to the point of cancellation. The only exception to this rule are for emergency repairs.