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Watch out for rogue traders cashing in on storm damage say Leicestershire Trading Standards

Residents who have suffered damage caused by last week’s Storm Henk are being warned by Leicestershire Trading Standards to be on their guard against rogue traders.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged as Storm Henk tore through the county last week, with Loughborough and the surrounding area particularly affected by widespread flooding.

Leicester Time: Watch out for rogue traders cashing in on storm damage say Leicestershire Trading Standards
Picture: Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team is now urging people to be on the alert for doorstep traders and cold callers offering building repairs, garden work and clean-up services, which may be sub-standard and over-priced.

Councillor Deborah Taylor, lead member for regulatory services, said: “Rogue traders target people when they are at their most vulnerable and use events like Storm Henk to cash in and make money. They know that people need to make urgent repairs to their property or clear up fallen trees, so may knock on the door and suggest repairs that they claim they can carry out quickly.

“These unscrupulous traders pose as legitimate tradespeople, often targeting the elderly and vulnerable people within our communities. These offenders are extremely believable and can come across as very charming and trustworthy, but they can also use aggressive behaviour and scare tactics. They advise people that work needs to be done when it often doesn’t – this work can be sub-standard and consumers can find themselves paying more than they originally agreed. 

“We would ask people to be on their guard against this type of scam, and to look out for our friends, families and neighbours to ensure they don’t fall victim. The message is simple – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.”

Leicestershire Trading Standards has issued a checklist to help people steer clear of rogue traders and doorstep scams.

Advice includes obtaining full details of each business that provides a quote, visiting any website and/or social media page they hold and checking their address on the Royal Mail website.

Also, never pay in cash – use a secure method such as bank transfer or credit card.

Be wary of those that say they can start straight away, whatever reason they give you

For contracts over the value of £42, traders must give you a notice that you have 14 days to change your mind and cancel the contract. An exception is if work needs to be carried out in an emergency or at your express request, but you must waive these rights in writing.

Has the trader offered to take you to the bank to withdraw money? If so, this is considered an ‘aggressive practice’, so consider this a warning sign.

For more advice and guidance, call 0808 223 1133 or visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer . To report a rogue trader, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Leicester Time: Watch out for rogue traders cashing in on storm damage say Leicestershire Trading Standards