Bogus Repairmen Warning
28 August 2001

Caithness Community Web Site News Index      


Householders in the Highlands are being warned to be on their guard against salesmen operating in the area, who offer free surveys of homes for dampness and to carry out what they claim is necessary remedial work. 

Trading Standards officers at The Highland Council have received complaints from consumers in the Ross & Cromarty and Inverness areas that salesmen are now operating there.  The traders make cold call telephone calls to make appointments for visits offering free inspections and then claim that remedial work for damp is urgently required and offer to carry out the work, usually within a 24 hour period. They may claim to be linked to building societies and there are concerns they are targeting the elderly and vulnerable. 

The advice by The Highland Council to householders who have a genuine dampness problem in their homes is to obtain written estimates from traders, which give details of the price and the work required and consider getting a second opinion to establish if the work is really necessary.  Head of Trading Standards Nigel MacKenzie said: "Householders should stop and think before agreeing to any immediate repairs.  If a house does have a damp problem then it has probably been there for some time and, although repairs may be necessary, it is unlikely they require to be carried out within twenty-four hours.  Before agreeing to any work, the public should always get detailed information in writing of the work claimed to be necessary, including the cost involved, and try to get a second estimate. 

"If a member of the public is unsure what to do, consider speaking to a friend or neighbour for advice or get them to come round while the salesman is there, or make a quick phone call to The Highland Council's Consumer Advice Line and speak to an advisor.  "Consider what comeback there is if the work turns out to be unsatisfactory or unnecessary, particularly if the trader is not locally established. If the trader claims to be linked to a trade association or another company this can be checked out by The Highland Council's Consumer Advisor. If they offer long guarantees ask to see the paperwork and check the small print for what is covered and whether it is backed by a third party insurance company should the trader later go bust or can't be traced." 

Consumers can obtain advice from Trading Standards by telephoning The Highland Council's Consumer Advice line on 0845 600 4222 (local rate) or visiting any Council Service Point.