Skip to content

Published 22 March 2017

Trading Standards and Police Scotland are warning residents of a likely increase in rogue traders operating in the area as we enter spring.

As winter comes to an end and homeowners plan repairs and improvements, this can provide an opportunity for rogue traders. Trading Standards report that they normally see an increase in complaints about home improvements at this time of year with roof repairs and gardening work among the most common.

Rogue traders often use intimidating or aggressive practices, sometimes overcharge and provide misleading statements about the work that they offer. This often leaves householders out of pocket and facing more bills to put problems right.

Common scams used by rogue businesses can include:

  • Offering to initially replace a tile or slate on the roof but then stating that water is getting into the roof and that it needs replacing urgently
  • Giving a cheap price to clean and clear the garden but then charging much more for ‘extra’ work carried out
  • Stating that they are working in your local area and have a load of tarmac left over which will go off if it isn’t used
  • Stating that they can replace rotten wooden soffits, fascia boards and guttering when in fact they use cheap plastic to cover the problem instead
  • Offering to trim trees or replace driveways then fly-tipping waste generated from your home, leaving you open to prosecution for not controlling disposal of your waste

Trading Standards Co-ordinator Tony Cairns said: “I urge local residents to be on their guard with any uninvited callers who turn up on their doorstep offering to carry out work. Politely inform them that you do not buy on the doorstep and that you wish them to leave.  If you enter into a contract on the doorstep, you are entrusting potentially expensive work to someone you have never heard of, and may never see again.”

Responsible traders will know the rules and will supply the correct paperwork before starting any work. This can include the right for a consumer to cancel work for a short period of time.

Inspector David Quinn, based at Clydebank, said: "I would ask people to be vigilant and look out for elderly and vulnerable members in the community being targeted by rogue traders. If you feel intimidated by a caller, close the door and call the police on 101.”

Trading Standards urge householders to heed this advice and be on their guard. They ask that residents follow the following doorstep crime prevention advice:

  • Don't agree to any work on the basis of a verbal quote
  • If you need work done, obtain written quotes from a number of reputable companies
  • Whatever you do, don't agree to be taken down to the bank to withdraw money

Tony Cairns added: “Residents should warn any elderly neighbours and relatives about the risks and if possible notify Trading Standards or police if you suspect there is anyone suspicious operating in and around your area. There are numerous reputable, trustworthy local traders available to residents and in West Dunbartonshire we now operate a successful Trusted Trader Scheme . This list can be found online at www.referenceline.com/tradingstandards/w-dunbartonshire, where information on how to join can also be found.”

For further information or advice, please contact the West Dunbartonshire Council Trading Standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454040506.