Consumer: Be wary of high winds scammers cashing in

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Householders are being urged by a consumer wathdog to be wary about doorstep callers following the high winds over the past few days.

Strong winds of up to 80mph brought traffic and travel disruption to Leeds last week.

The winds caused damage to many properties including roofs, guttering, and fencing.

And this in turn will create an opportunity for rogue doorstep traders to take advantage, warns West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

The watchdog is reminding consumers not to deal with traders who call at their homes offering to carry out any repair work.

It advises that rogue doorstep traders use various tactics. They specifically target elderly and vulnerable consumers, and will often try to scare consumers into having the work carried out. This might be by advising that work is needed when this might not be the case.

Scam artists will also quote for one price and then find further jobs that they claim need urgent attention once the work starts. This leads to escalated prices. Once works begins consumers, especially elderly consumers, often feel they have no choice but to agree to the work.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards has issued the following tips on having work carried out at your property:

Do not deal with doorstep traders

Always get at least 3 quotes for work and make sure you get a written quote

If you agree to a contract, make sure you are given cancellation rights

Use a trader recommended to you

Go to for a list of approved traders in Leeds

Use traders who are members of a trade association

Has the trader told you there are a member of a trader association? Check with the trade association before you agree to the work being done

Remember you have a seven day cooling off period in which you can cancel the contract

Do not feel pressured into having work carried out at your property

Councillor Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “I urge consumers to be on their guard against doorstep traders who will try to cash in following the damage caused to properties because of the bad weather.

“Please look out for doorstep traders targeting your elderly neighbours.”

If you are concerned that you or a neighbour may be a victim of a doorstep trader, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

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