MORAY COUNCIL'S Trading Standards team has received recent reports of doorstep traders offering services including roof repairs, driveways, patios and garden clearance.
Each year, Trading Standards receives complaints about doorstep traders, who often use misleading or intimidating practices to obtain large amounts of money from Moray’s most vulnerable residents.
Common complaints include poor quality of work, quoting a low initial price which goes up significantly because of 'extra work' needed, or over-exaggerating the risks that consumers face if they do not get repairs done to their home.
Trading Standards advice is never to agree to work on the doorstep. Doorstep sellers are often trained in pressure sales techniques and can be very persuasive. Many of them distribute glossy leaflets or have a professional-looking website, which makes the business look like a well-established reputable company. Only after the work is completed and the consumer has problems, do they find that the business premises do not exist and the phone numbers ring out.
If you think that work is needed to your property, get quotes from two or three local traders and compare them - or ask someone you can trust for a recommendation. Always make sure you get quotes in writing on headed paper which includes the trading name and address of the trader. If you agree to the work at home, you should also get cancellation rights of 14 days to change your mind before the work starts.
Many instances of doorstep crime remain unreported because victims are embarrassed, they don’t know who to report it to, or they do not even realise they have been the victim of a crime.
A spokesperson for Moray Council said: “Trading Standards rely on information from the public to help identify the rogues. Every bit of information on problem traders helps us prevent people being ripped off. If you have problems with doorstep traders or have any other concerns about the way they operate, please contact us on 0300 123 4561.”
This advice follows a conviction and fine imposed by Elgin Sheriff Court on 31 January 2019 on a trader for offences investigated and reported by Moray Trading Standards.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.