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Caithness News Bulletins April 2003

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The Highland Council and Northern Constabulary are urging householders to be on their guard against bogus workmen and itinerant traders known to operating in the Highlands.

Trading Standards Officers within the Councilís TEC Services and Northern Constabulary are aware of itinerant traders seeking work or selling goods door-to-door and are advising householders to be particularly cautious when dealing with itinerant traders offering cut price tar laying, house maintenance or gardening services, as well as selling items including "cut-price" furniture, televisions and clothing.

Nigel Mackenzie, Head of Trading Standards, said: "At this time of year, householders are thinking of jobs needed attended to about the house and garden, or perhaps buying new furniture for the home.  A knock at the door from an itinerant trader, keen to point out the pot-holed driveway, leaking gutters or loose slates and offering "bargain" deals can catch people off their guard and can seem attractive at the time. The sting in the tail is that these so-called bargains may turn out to be too good to be true. We have had instances of householders being grossly overcharged for house repairs and tarred driveways showing weeds within days. Examples of poor quality goods being offered include synthetic furniture being described as "leather" and older televisions said to be digitally re-conditioned."

Householders are being advised that if itinerant traders approach them,  they should ask themselves if the trader will still be around if they need to complain if the work or goods turn out to be of poor quality.  It is also good practice to obtain several quotes from local traders for jobs before agreeing the work and obtain paperwork with the trader's contact details.

Householders can contact the Trading Standards Unit with any concerns by telephoning The Highland Council Consumer Helpline 0845 600 4222 (local rate, mobile call costs may vary) or by e-mail at consumer.advice@highland.gov.uk