Today (2 October) is the 10th anniversary of Operation Rogue Trader, a national campaign targeting rogue traders and highlighting how the public can avoid becoming victims of crime.
Rogue traders are criminals who cold-call and take advantage of householders by using high-pressure, forceful sales techniques. Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced. They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions. This kind of criminality is often linked to distraction burglaries, which are carried out by an offender gaining access to a property by distracting or deceiving the householder in order to steal their valuables or cash.
As part of Operation Rogue Trader, the police and trading standards are issuing the following advice to help you avoid becoming a victim of a rogue trader:
• Never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call. Don’t make snap decisions and don’t be pressurised into having the job done.
• Only pay once work is completed to your satisfaction. Don’t pay cash and don’t pay money up front for trader’s materials.
• Check the identity of all callers to your home. Ask for photo identification and check carefully with the telephone number in the phone book, not the number on the ID.
• Remember it is not illegal to sell at the door and legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine.
You can report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06. For a Welsh speaking adviser, you should call 03454 04 05 05.
If you have information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader, you should ring your local police on 101, or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.