News

                                                        Consumer Alerts November 2013

Green Deal

We are still receiving inquiries from a number of residents about their rights when dealing with callers who have been offering Green Deal assessments. Residents have been cold-called by telephone and on their doorstep and often subjected to high pressure selling techniques so they feel forced into agreeing to an assessment.

Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers. If you need further information about the Green Deal visit www.gov.uk

or contact the Energy SavingAdvice Service on 0300 123 1234.

 

Telephone Scams

The 'Ministry of Justice' scam seems to be around again where the consumer is offered a refund from the government. In one incident £4500 was offered and the consumer was asked for £199 to process the claim. In another scam the trader called offering the householder compensation for car accident. The consumer was suspicious as they not been in any car accidents and ended the call. There have also been several reports of callers ringing to say the householder has a fault on their computer. Sometimes the caller asks the consumer to turn their computer on to allow them access and in one incident the caller tried to sell the consumer a fix for £400. The callers often claim to be from companies such as Microsoft or Windows.

Trading Standards Advice is never deal with cold callers.

Internet Scams

This is a scam involving car sales. An internet seller uses the names of legitimate haulage companies and says he is selling off their used salesman vehicles. The buyer is told that the company will drive the car to the buyer. However, once the buyer has paid, the seller then emails to say there has been a problem and the car has been seized by the authorities. The buyer waits a prescribed time for things to be sorted, but then cannot get in touch and doesn’t hear anything more from the seller.

Cold Callers

There have been a number of reports of vulnerable consumers being cold called by bogus traders offering to do roofing work. In one incident a vulnerable lady was asked for £7,000 in cash. Consumers are advised not to have any dealings with cold callers, and not to pay cash for work carried out. If you are looking for a reputable trader for property repairs or home maintenance jobs why not look at our

Safe Trader Scheme. For more information visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call Help

 

Direct on 0303 333 1111.

Contact the Trading Standards Service

via the Citizens Advice Consumer

Helpline on 08454 04 05 06

 
 
                                                     July 2013 Consumer Alerts
 

Telephone scams

One vulnerable consumer has been persistently called by a man claiming they are entitled to a £10,000 refund for mis-sold PPI. The man asks for an administration fee by Ukash voucher. The victim has paid £2,000 in Ukash vouchers so far and not received anything.

In an unusual scam, a parcel from a clothing catalogue was delivered. The consumer was surprised as they had not ordered anything and had no account with the Company. About 10 minutes later the consumer received a phone call saying the parcel had been delivered in error and asked them to leave it outside for collection.They did this and the parcel disappeared. The consumer later found that an account with the catalogue company had been set up in her name and the couriers said they had not been to collect the parcel. The catalogue company has been informed.

 Email Scams

There are a number of scam email messages circulating this month. One allegedly from Talk Talk, with the subject heading 'Your Recent Bill's Overdue', states that there are some changes to your account and that the bank details used to pay the bill have also changed. It then asks the recipient to verify their account details.

Another scam email, allegedly from HSBC,says they have received a request to terminate the online card account. If the recipient has not asked for the account to be cancelled they should download a document to cancel the request and supply account details.Trading Standards advice is never respond to these emails. You should never be asked to verify your account details in this way.

Cold Callers

Lancashire Trading Standards are warning people to be vigilant of doorstep sellers who are using the names of legitimate alarm companies to make them appear genuine. In the latest incidents, cold callers try to trick people into paying £200 to have a house alarm fitted, claiming to be from a security company. In some cases, the salespeople have been aggressive to elderly residents when refused.

Many residents are still receiving unsolicited telephone calls offering to check council tax bandings. In some instances residents are informed they may be due a rebate of between £2,000 and £3,000. You should be aware that companies cold calling to sell this type of service have no connection to any council or to the Valuation Office Agency. You should also be aware that you can check your council tax banding yourself. Any householder has the right to contact the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 501501, or via its website www.voa.gov.uk. If you are successful in getting the band lowered you will keep the entire rebate. Bogus roofers are still causing problems for vulnerable residents. In a recent incident

traders cold called a lady and offered to do some roofing work. The lady, who paid over £2000 in cash, has since found that the work is of such poor quality it needs redoing. Sealant turned out to be ordinary paint and duct tape had been used in place of lead flashing.In one incident the bogus roofer didn't even bother doing any work just told the consumer that he had replaced the chimney pots and re-pointed the ridge tiles and then demanded £480 in cash.Bogus traders are also offering other types of building work. One consumer agreed to a conservatory for £10,000. They paid a deposit of £1500 and were told the work would be completed in 10 days. The base was put down three weeks later and the trader demanded a further £4000. The trader then disappeared for 3 months and then reappeared asking for more money before they re-start work. The consumer has had the concrete base examined and found it is not suitable for a conservatory.Trading Standards advice is never deal with traders who cold call.

If you want help finding a reputable trader visit our Safe

Trader Scheme website

www.safetrader.org.uk or contact Help

Direct on 0303 333 1111.

 

Contact the Trading Standards Service

via the Citizens Advice Consumer

Helpline on 08454 04 05 06

                                                                  August 2013   Consumer Alerts

Letter scams

Residents in Fylde have reported receiving a letter claiming they'd won £825,000 in a Spanish sweepstake prize draw. To claim the prize, a clearance fee was payable And the consumer had to complete a reply slip which asked for personal information.Several consumers have also reported receiving a letter which states that a relative has died in China and they are is due an inheritance. The email asks the consumer to contact Mickey Mutu, email address Mutu779@ymail.com Trading Standards' advice is never to respond to letters like these.

Internet Scams

There have been several reports of website offering online loans. The websites state that no credit checks or other financial checks are required so the offer is particularly attractive to people on low income. When the consumer applies, they get a phone call saying they are eligible for a loan but are told that they have to pay £150 tax, then £180, all via Ukash vouchers.Trading Standards advice is to always be wary of paying money up front. Ukash vouchers should be treated as cash and are untraceable. For more information about keeping Ukash vouchers secure see the Ukash website www.ukash.com.

Cold Callers

One resident reported two men apparently working on a neighbour's roof. She was concerned as the neighbour was in his 90's and recently bereaved – he also seemed unsure what work the men were doing. When the neighbour confronted the traders,the two men just said they were finishing off a previous job. The two men then drove off in a car with ladders strapped to the top.In another incident, four men in a white transit van called on a vulnerable lady offering to clear the gutters. When the consumer agreed the men also offered to look at the chimney. One man went onto the roof and when he came back down said they had found various problems which ould cost £840 to fix. The men demanded the money in cash and asked the lady to go to the bank for it immediately.The matter was reported by an employee from the local bank who was concerned that the customer, who was very upset, was asking for so much money in cash.Trading Standards advice is never deal with traders who cold call. If you are looking for a reputable trader for property repairs or home maintenance, Lancashire County Council operates a Safe Trader Scheme.For more information visit www.safetrader.org.uk or contact Help

 

Direct on 0303 333 1111.

Contact the Trading Standards Service

via the Citizens Advice Consumer

Helpline on 08454 04 05 06

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