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How to beat the rogue doorstep caller

Say NO! to doorstep callers.

No cold callers Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people turn up unannounced and with the intention of tricking people either by high pressure selling or using false ID's. Their aim is to get into people's homes and you always need to be aware when someone you don't know calls at your door.

Not all traders turning up on your door are rogues. You will all be aware, however, of local incidents where older or isolated people have been the victim of a doorstep-crime or unscrupulous practice of one sort or another:

  • Paying an exorbitant price for house repairs or garden maintenance
  • Having to pay in cash in full before the job is finished
  • Being left with an incomplete job and refusal from the trader to finish the job or undertake necessary repairs
  • No way to get the job finished because you have only a mobile telephone number to trace the number
  • Having your possessions stolen whilst being distracted by a doorstep-caller/bogus official or their accomplice

May use lines like:

  • 'Congratulations! You've won a prize! If you could just sign here for it ....' 
  • 'I noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof ....' 
  • 'There have been a lot of burglaries in this area recently ...' 
  • 'This cut-price special offer is only available if you sign today ...' 
  • 'I'm doing a survey ...' 
  • Offer goods and services like home security systems, vacuum cleaners, general property repairs or damp proofing
  • Often prey on elderly or vulnerable consumers
  • Use pressure selling tactics to persuade people into buying goods or services
  • Don't tell people about their right to cancel if they change their mind after signing a contract
  • Even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw your money

There are laws that seek to protect you from unscrupulous traders ripping you off for goods and services supplied following a visit to your home.

By following simple advice you can protect yourself.

Rogue doorstep sellers and bogus callers will often be smartly dressed. They will usually have a story to get your attention. They may claim to be from or working with the council, police or utilities. They can be very convincing and persuasive, as it is their intention to trick you into trusting them. 

Some may even use false identity cards or dress up for the part for example, wearing overalls with a false company logo. But if you are in any doubt don't let them in.

Official visitors should always arrange an appointment beforehand. If you're not expecting them and you are alone then ask them to call back later when you have somebody with you - they will always be happy to do this.

If someone calls at your door and offers to do repairs to your home or asks to come in so they can talk, you should do the following:

  • Lock: Keep front and back doors locked
  • Stop: Are you expecting anybody? Do they have an appointment?
  • Chain: Put your door chain on - it's useful barrier because they may try to use force to enter your home
  • Check: Examine their details carefully but do not let them in

If you are interested, then arrange for them to come back later when you have somebody with you and can give some thought to it.

Rogue builders or gardeners often trick people into paying very high prices for unnecessary or shoddy work. Never agree to have work done by somebody who is just passing or take their word that it needs to be done at all. Never pay for anything before any work is done. Do not accept an offer from them to drive you to the bank to withdraw money. If you think work needs to be done then get quotes from other local companies and ask friends and relatives for a recommendation.

'No cold callers' sign

To stop knockers, print our  'No Cold Callers' [108KB] signs and put them on a door or window. While the print-out is colour, it's designed for easy printing in black and white too.              

Know your cancellation rights

Buying at home - 'off premises' contracts explained.


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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 06 Feb 2019 at 09:37