Householders in Leeds are being warned to be on their guard against rogue traders after a recent rise in complaints.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards is reminding people to stay extra vigilant about traders arriving on their doorstep offering services.
Its top three doorstep crime complaint categories are roofing, driveways and gardening/tree cutting.
Communities are being urged to look out for elderly and vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours and ensure they are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders who carry out substandard work or charge extortionate prices for unnecessary jobs. Consumers are being reminded not to deal with traders who call at their homes offering to carry out household repairs.
Tactics used by rogue doorstep traders include: knocking on the door and saying that they have noticed a loose tile on the roof, have tarmac left over from another job or offering to trim overgrown trees and shrubs; deliberate targeting of elderly, confused or vulnerable consumers; scaring consumers into having the work carried out and advising that work is needed when this is not the case.
A new multi-agency task force, the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), comprising professionals from trading standards, police and social services, investigates doorstep crime and safeguards victims.
Linda Davis, head of the WYFEAT task force, said, “We are striving to catch these rogues and bring them to justice, keeping them out of our communities where they are causing very real damage to residents’ lives. We would advise residents not to do business on the doorstep and, if you are worried about paying for home improvements, to use a vetted trader scheme.”
Anyone who is concerned that they or a neighbour may be a victim can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.