Wales Heads of Trading Standards

Improving Trading Standards in Wales

Penaethiaid Safonau Masnach Cymru Yn Gwella Safonau Masnach Yng Nghymru

Rogue Traders

Dealing with rogue traders

Rogue traders are opportunists who call on people's doors to rip them off. They make repairs that don't need doing and may talk people into buying products that they don't want. Be on your guard, watch out for them, you can keep your door closed to protect yourself from their scams, fraudulent activities and offers that are quite literally – too good to be true.

Who are they?

Rogue Traders usually cold call under the guise of being either salespeople or trades people who offer cut price home improvement services or other products. They are always charming and very believable. They can also be very difficult to get rid of if they get through your door even if you ask them to leave. Such traders will charge a small fortune for poor quality work, unnecessary repairs or cheap goods such as double glazing or energy efficiency products.

What tricks do they use?

They sometimes offer to tarmac your drive, work on your garden, repair your roof or clean your gutters for a low price. They may say that your house needs urgent repairs. They may say they are only in the area for a short time. They may say that they have done work for your neighbour. They may also offer you unbelievable discounts. They may then demand large amounts of cash, claiming that the job has turned out to be bigger than they thought. Some ask for cash up front and are never seen again. Others may insist on driving people to their bank to pressure them into withdrawing their savings. Whatever they say - don't believe them.

What should you do to prevent doorstep crime?

Remember the Three Step Plan. You have the right to keep your door closed and tell them to go away. If you are suspicious of a cold caller, you can report them to 101 and give a description of them and any vehicle you may have seen them use.   If they are selling goods or services and don't leave or return after you've asked them to leave, they are breaking the law -  and can be prosecuted for ignoring your request.

Top tips

  • Install an intercom or spy hole for extra security.
  • Never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep.
  • Always get written quotes from at least two traders for any work.
  • You have 14 days to cancel any purchase of goods or services over £42 that you make in your home.
  • If you agree a contract for goods or services in your house, you must be given the following information in a durable medium, otherwise a criminal offence may have been committed:
    • The conditions, time limits & procedure for exercising the right to cancel
    • the cost of returning the goods
    • if you request the contract to start within the cancellation period, the trader must inform you of any  reasonable costs to be paid up until the time of cancellation.
  • Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.
  • You don't have to pay in full until you're completely satisfied with the work and you could consider using stage payments throughout the work.
  • Keep your home and belongings safe during works.
  • If you think you've been deceived, are concerned about a trader or have any doubts call 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 (English) or 03454 040505 (Cymraeg).