Wales Heads of Trading Standards

Improving Trading Standards in Wales

Penaethiaid Safonau Masnach Cymru Yn Gwella Safonau Masnach Yng Nghymru





Be Prepared

Planning in advance

As well as always following the three step plan, there are a number of things you can do to prepare in advance and make sure you're not caught at a bad moment by a suspicious doorstep cold caller.

A Nominated Neighbour

Ask a trusted neighbour or a family member who lives nearby to help check out the identity of cold callers.

Download a Nominated Neighbour Poster (English) (Cymraeg) (PDF, 422kb) and write their address in the space provided. DO NOT display the poster in your window or open your door to give it to someone on your doorstep. Simply hold the poster up at a window or post it through your letterbox, so they can visit your nominated neighbour.

Call your neighbour on the phone to let them know someone is coming around and get confirmation before letting them in. If you cannot contact your nominated neighbour, you can call your local police on 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 (English) or 03454 040505 (Cymraeg).

Callers with an appointment

If you're expecting a caller at a specific time, ask your nominated neighbour, friend or family member to be with you so they can check their authenticity and stay with you throughout the visit.

Password scheme

Many organisations and gas, water and electricity companies run a password scheme - so you can set up a memorable word that is only known to them. If they know the password, you know that you can safely let them in.

So, plan in advance and get in touch with any organisation that regularly calls at your door and ask about their password scheme. These could include local utility suppliers, care services, your local council or meals on wheels service. And remember don't tell anyone else your passwords.

Useful telephone numbers

Download a Telephone List (English) (Cymraeg) (PDF, 198kb), so you can put together a list of useful telephone numbers that you can keep close to your phone.

Trading Standards

For further support and advice regarding rogue traders, or if you're a genuine trader looking for guidance on how to trade door-to-door, click here or call Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 (English) or 03454 040505 (Cymraeg) for advice and information about any consumer problem.

Know the law

Not many people know that if you tell someone who is trying to sell you goods or services  to leave your doorstep, they are committing a crime if they don't go away or if they return again, they are breaking the law - and can be prosecuted for ignoring your request.

Also, rogue traders may be arrested for various offences of fraud. For example, it may amount to false representation to state that a roof is in a dangerous condition and needs repair, when it is perfectly sound. Also, by failing to disclose something which they are legally obliged to do or tell you, they may commit a separate offence. An example may be by failing to provide cancellation information in a durable medium to consumers (where applicable).

Further support and advice

Call your local council or Neighbourhood Policing Team for advice and free services that will enhance your home security.

Dealing with cold callers on the phone

It isn't just cold callers at your door who can prove a problem. A lot of scammers these days are targeting people by phone. But again remember – you're in control. Don't give out the details of any of your current or savings accounts. And don't be afraid to put the phone down on unwelcome callers.

What tricks do they use?

Popular telephone scams include people saying you've won the lottery in another country and you just need to pay a fee to release the prize. Incredibly, figures produced by ther National Trading Standards Scams Team estimates that mass-marketing scams by post or over the telephone cause around £3.5 billion worth of detriment to UK consumers. 

If it sounds too good to be true it usually is! Other scams include offering a free loan to pay off your debts for an up front admin fee. There is no loan, just more debt. You also need to watch out for people claiming that you're due a council tax rebate and they will sort it out, for a fee of course. So, be on your guard for these and other telephone scams.

Further advice on phone scams can be found on the Citizens Advice and Action Fraud websites. 

If you suspect a telephone call is a scam call 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 (English) or 03454 040505 (Cymraeg). To reduce the number of unwanted telephone calls you receive, register with the telephone preference service on 0845 070 0707 or at www.tpsonline.org.uk.