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March 8, 2012 - 16:48

Residents warned about bogus callers

People in Dorset are being advised to be wary of opportunist tradesmen looking to cash in on recent bad weather.

Dorset County Council’s Trading Standards Service and Dorset Police fear the high winds the county has experienced this week could prompt dishonest workmen to try and persuade householders they need urgent repair work done to property or on their land.

Such approaches may be false or an attempt to offer repair work, often poorly done, at hugely inflated prices.

Officers are advising the public not to sign up to any work on the doorstep, no matter how urgent the caller says the work is.

Anyone who is approached on the doorstep by workmen offering such work is asked to make a note of any vehicle details, take a description of the workmen, if possible, and contact the police on the non-emergency 101 number. If the caller persists, then call 999.

Ivan Hancock,  trading standards service manager at Dorset County Council, said: “We hope that most tradesmen will be honest and not exploit the situation, but there is always a risk that some might see this as an opportunity.

“We ask that people be vigilant and not feel forced or coaxed into doing work that is unnecessary or costly as well as keeping an eye out for any elderly or vulnerable neighbours”

Residents who need work carried out are advised to find a trading standards approved trader they can trust at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Alternatively you can call Consumer Direct for a local list on 08454 04 05 06 or ask a neighbour, friend or relative to look up an approved trader.

Officers would also advise people to get more than one quote, preferably three, so they know they are being quoted a fair price.

Any tradesmen calling at the door must give a written seven-day ‘cooling off’ period to give people time to think about the offer. Work should not start before the end of the cooling off period unless the resident gives specific written agreement.