Fewer complaints over bogus callers

ALMOST 100 fewer complaints were received by trading standards officials relating to doorstep callers in the past 12 months compared to the previous year, it has been revealed.

ALMOST 100 fewer complaints were received by trading standards officials relating to doorstep callers in the past 12 months compared to the previous year, it has been revealed.

Between August 2003 and July this year, Suffolk trading standards received a total of 143 complaints about doorstep callers compared to 218 the year before.

Doorstep callers are rogue tradesmen and women who either use pushy techniques in order to secure a sale for a particular product, or carry out work in an owner's garden or home which is sub-standard or overcharged.

The department also recorded fewer complaints about cold calling - which involves pushy selling over the telephone - with numbers falling by more than half from 329 between August 2002 and July 2003 to 154 for the same period this year.

Suffolk Trading Standards officials are delighted with the reduction, but warn the war against rogue traders is far from over.

Roger Hopkins, assistant county trading standards officer for Suffolk, said: "The figures for unwanted doorstep callers figures for the period August 03 - July 04 were nearly 100 lower than for the same period for 2002-03.

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"The amount of 'cold' phone calls also dropped in the same periods by nearly 200. The figures certainly make pleasant reading.

"Although the war with these rogue traders is far from over some significant battles have certainly been won. Suffolk County Council Trading Standards Service remains committed to making it as hard as possible for these traders and those like them to continue trading in this way."

The organisation has issued advice to homeowners in the event of a doorstep caller arriving at their property.

Residents are urged not to give in to pressure to buy anything unwanted just because the salesperson claims the offer is only on until the end of the day.

Mr Hopkins said: "Remain in control of the situation and if you don't want something be firm in saying no and ask the salesperson to leave.

"Consumers are entitled by law to a 'cooling off' period of seven working days in which they can change their mind - no questions asked.

"Remember to always ask for ID before allowing anyone into your home. Official sales people won't mind waiting while you make a call to confirm who they are."

Anyone with concerns about the selling techniques of any company should contact the Trading Standards advice line on 01473 584358.

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