Category: Door to Door Sales

Doorstep Safety

There are many genuine trades people and sellers who knock at your door offering legitimate services and products. But, there are also many scammers who want to talk you into bad deals or just steal your money.

For many older and vulnerable people, doorstep sellers can be frightening or too convincing.

If you don’t feel safe answering the door to someone you don’t know then don’t. Someone calling unexpectedly has no right to your time or courtesy. It’s your choice to answer or ignore.

The following precautions may help:-

  1. Keep your doors locked even when at home
  2. Have a chain on your front door so you can safely open it just a few inches
  3. Have a spy hole (or electronic eye) fitted in the door so you can who’s knocking
  4. Get a Trading Standards sticker ‘NO COLD CALLERS’

Trading Standards say you should never sign anything on the spot, never agree to allow any work to start right away and remember that you normally have a 14 day cooling-off period during which you can cancel any work and receive a refund of money paid.

They also say that you should never agree to have work done by someone just passing by. If some work is needed, get at least two quotations from reputable traders. Your local Trading Standards Service may operate an ‘approved trader scheme’ or use check-a-trade or similar review website.

Bogus callers may turn up on your doorstep and say that they have come to investigate a water leak or they are lost and need a drink of water. Sometimes they may say they have a child who has lost a ball in your back garden. They are probably trying to trick you to let them into your home so they can steal cash and valuable items. Don’t let them in.

It isn’t rude to ask someone to leave – it is your right.

Do Neighbourhood Watches Help to Reduce Door-to-Door Scammers?

The anecdotal evidence is that they do reduce this type of crime. This is largely because people are more aware of possible crimes and do keep an eye out for unexpected visitors to their doors. Also, door-to-door crooks tend to avoid areas where there are any signs of organisation against crime.

Stay Safe.

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The Damaged Roof Scam

This is a doorstep scam that has been happening in the Hampton area of Surrey recently, but is common in many areas.

One or more men knock at your door and say they have damaged your roof accidentally and are willing to fix it free of charge. They usually claim to have been working on next door’s roof when the accident happened.

Doesn’t sound like a scam so far, BUT they will need something that requires a deposit such as scaffolding. They had the cheek to tell one resident that he would need to pay £2,500 deposit for scaffolding for just a few hours.

Fortunately he recognised the scam, as otherwise they would have taken the money and disappeared.

They may claim the roof is damaged or the guttering is broken or in some cases they offer a free check of your roof tiles. Once on the roof they deliberately cause damage and demand an exorbitant price to fix it.

One resident says:-

This exact scam happened to me some months ago. “I am sorry, my ladder accidentally caused your roof damage. I will repair it at no cost”. It sounds like the same gang. Foolishly I allowed him to go up and he then caused damage which I had to get repaired. Yes, follow them and get vehicle number, but do not let them spot you as they then know where you live.

A local roof tiler says:-

“I was called to a job last week where two guys offered a free inspection and once on the roof removed ridge tiles and then refused to put them back unless the owner of the house paid them £350

He told them to come down and reported them to the police.

He then called me and I re-cemented the ridge tiles back and changed some broken tiles at a reduced fee as the

The various residents involved have all reported this to the Police, who already knew about the fraudsters and they have been caught.

However, there are numerous other gangs who also operate this scam.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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The Kitchenware Car Park Scam

This has happened before in Surrey but now theses scammers are at it again.

They have approached people in Waitrose car park in Cobham and at Painshill car park.

You’re in a car park and maybe just getting out of your car or heading back to your car and you are stopped by someone. You expect they want directions to somewhere but they start telling you a story. Sometimes they hang around schools trying to talk to the waiting parents or sometimes they just knock on doors.

The story is roughly as follows:-

 I was on my way to the airport to fly home but I have too many samples left. Kitchen knives, cutlery, crockery – all top quality sets as you can see for yourself (shows the product).

 I can’t take them on the plane as they are too heavy so I have to sell them off quickly.

I can offer these professional products to you at a very much discounted price if you buy now.

The products have designer names and appear to be Swiss made and top quality but when the victim’s inspect them at home, they realise they are poor quality copies and not worth what was paid.    

The scammers have German accents and speak good English.  They are clearly very convincing as people keep falling for this scam and some spend over £1,000 only to find out their purchases are near worthless.

The Police do know about these scammers but if you are approached by them then do tell the Police.

If you know anything about these scammers or have been conned by them – let me know.

Doorstep Cold Caller Warning Signs

Doorstep or cold calling is the act of making uninvited visits to your home with the intention of selling goods or services. It is not illegal and does not require a licence.
Door step cold caller sticker scheme.

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Are you fed up with receiving visits to your home from cold calling traders?

Are you concerned about rogue traders calling on your elderly or vulnerable neighbours, seeking work?

If so, say “no” to cold calling doorstep traders with a Trading Standards door sticker.

This sticker initiative is designed to empower residents, giving them the confidence to deal with cold calling traders. Traders should respect your wishes but if they don’t, they may be liable to prosecution for ignoring your request to leave and not return.

How do you get a sticker?

Sticker packs can be collected from your local district council, police station or library. If you have any trouble getting a sticker pack, please contact Trading Standards. You can find details of your nearest Trading Standards office by entering your postcode at https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office

Register your sticker

You can register your stickers online.

Registering your sticker pack enables the council to gauge their popularity and success at deterring cold callers  and identify neighbourhoods where stickers are not being displayed and attempt to increase take up in those areas.

Trading Standards Newsletter

Many Trading Standards offices publish regular newsletter including information on scams and rogue traders.

Check the online details for your nearest Trading Standards office.

Q. What should you do if my sticker is ignored?

Unfortunately, not all cold calling traders will respect your wishes and some will ignore your sticker. If this happens, try complaining to the company and ask them not to visit you again in the future.

Also send a copy of the letter to Trading Standards.

Zones Where Cold Calling is Banned

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Doorstep or cold calling is the act of making uninvited visits to your home with the intention of selling goods or services. It is not illegal and does not require a licence.

Certain parts of Walton-on-Thames and other areas are classed by the local council as “no cold calling zones”.

In these areas, all of the houses have warning signs on their front door or nearby that cold calling is not allowed and that cold callers should leave immediately. There are also signs on lampposts etc. to warn potential cold callers to stay away.  Walton is in Elmbridge which is not setting up any new zones but other councils are still doing so.

A number of other councils around the UK have set up some of these no cold calling zones in response to requests from citizens to do something about the nuisance of unwanted callers.

The councils work in conjunction with Trading Standards and the local police and information can be found at http://www.tradingstandards.uk/policy/doorstopperswelcome.cfm

Do these zones work?

The evidence is that there is a marked reduction in cold calling in the zones , so Yes it works.

How to Stop Salesmen From Anglian Windows

Anglian Logo

Anglian Windows are well known for sending people around to knock on everyone’s door. Usually with special offers and a hard sell.

I had yet another visit from a salesman from Anglian Windows and complained to him that two of his colleagues had knocked within the last few months. Don’t they talk to each other?  He had no explanation and clearly didn’t care – just went into his sales patter.

As long as you are still on the doorstep they believe you can be sold to and hence carry on with the pitch.  It is pathetic.

I complained to their head office that it was ridiculous to have such frequent visits and couldn’t they organise themselves better. I was surprised to get a message back apologising and saying that my address was now on their ‘do not knock’ list so I should never be bothered by them again.

I find it hard to believe that but maybe it’s true.

Anyway, if you have problems with Anglian or similar companies knocking at the door – make sure to complain to their head office and demand they stop knocking at your door.

It may work.