Trading standards consumer advice

Doorstep crime

Buy With Confidence provides a database of traders vetted and approved by trading standards, to help you find traders who operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

The advice below will help protect you from dishonest doorstep callers.

Rogue traders

Rogue traders target vulnerable residents and carry out little or no work, charging exorbitant sums of money. They will usually offer roofing, driveway or gardening services at a reduced price, but work is often unnecessary or badly done and the trader later increases the price.

Distraction burglars

Distraction burglars can be any of age and appearance, male or female. They aim to trick or worry you into leaving your house or into letting them in, by making up stories. They or an accomplice will then enter the property in order to either carry out the burglary or assess security measures within the property in order to return later.

For more information, go to Crimestoppers.

Protecting yourself from doorstep crime

While it might be tempting to agree to low prices being offered on the doorstep, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) warns people to think twice. Their advice is:

  • never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call, and don't be pressurised into having the job done immediately
  • if you think work needs doing to your home, get quotes from 2 or 3 traders
  • ask for the full name and address from a trader before considering dealing with them, and never rely solely on a mobile phone number
  • ask for a written quotation detailing all the proposed work and a final price for the job
  • only pay once the work is completed to your satisfaction, don't pay up front for materials, don't pay cash
  • ask to see photo identification of all callers to your home,¬†even if they claim to be from a utility company, the police or local authority
  • when checking ID, check it carefully with the telephone number in the phone book and not the number on the ID
  • do not keep cash in your home no matter how well you think it is hidden, and never let traders know that you may have cash on the premises
  • if in doubt contact Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice consumer service

: 0808 223 1133

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Citizens Advice consumer service