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Make sure your home improvements aren't a con this spring

20 April 2017

Lincolnshire Trading Standards is reminding residents to think carefully when taking on workmen and to only select those who are known to do a good job.

The advice comes as spring marks a popular time for home revamps and improvements. It is hoped that the tips will help Lincolnshire residents avoid getting conned this spring.

Kirsty Toyne, principal trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council said:

“With the weather getting warmer, more people are starting to tidy up their gardens, driveways and think about home improvement projects.

“This provides plenty of opportunities for unscrupulous traders to con residents into buying their services, whether this is mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, replacing roofs or resurfacing driveways.

“Common tactics used by these rogue traders have included professional-looking advertising, cold-calling, and high-pressure selling.”

Image of a Trading Standards Officer

Trading Standards advises people to get at least three written quotes to compare and to use reputable companies that are recommended by friends or family or are part of an approved trader scheme.

Kirsty adds:

“Unfortunately each year, hundreds of unsuspecting people in Lincolnshire find themselves targeted by criminals at their own front door. It’s usually the vulnerable and elderly who fall victim to these unscrupulous fraudsters, who persuade them to hand over money for shoddy and substandard work. Please follow our advice to avoid it happening to you or your family.”

When dealing with any cold-calling tradespeople, Lincolnshire Trading Standards recommends the following:

  • Keep your front and back door locked, even when you are at home. Fix a security chain to your door, and make sure you use it every time someone calls.
  • If in doubt, do not open the door.
  • Do not let the caller into your home if you are unsure about them.
  • Do not agree to have work done on your home without getting a second opinion and three quotes from other companies.
  • Do not be lured in by the promise of discounts, one-day-only offers and “this deal is only available now.”
  • Do not believe any “scare stories” a seller may tell you - they are rarely true..
  • Do not keep large sums of money in the home

If you suspect a rogue doorstep trader in your neighbourhood, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or call the Police on 101. In an emergency situation, always call 999.

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