In a push to protect the vulnerable, Dame Anne is joining forces with the OFT’s Summer Doorstep Selling campaign, empowering local residents to deal with untoward doorstep sellers. Latest Consumer Direct figures reveal there were over 840 doorstep selling complaints in Scotland.
Research conducted on behalf of the Office of Fair Trading highlights the elderly as being particularly at risk of doorstep selling scams. One in five people over the age of 70 who were interviewed admitted to not being confident in deciding whether to employ a tradesperson and a fifth of those questioned couldn’t see through pressure sales tactics such as having to pay cash in advance or having to make a quick decision to get a good deal.
Dame Anne says: “Not all doorstep sellers are bogus, however unlawful traders can be unscrupulous and use a range of persuasive tactics to sell seemingly irresistible offers to unsuspecting and often vulnerable people in their homes. I’m urging everyone who knows or cares for a vulnerable, elderly person to make sure they are aware of their rights when it comes to suspect door step approaches. No one should feel pressured into making a rash buying decision. If in doubt always think twice and get a second opinion.”
Dame Anne urges residents of Aberdeen South to follow the ‘ten tips’ on dealing with doorstep sellers:
1. Don’t sign on the spot
2. Check the trader’s identity
3. Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home
4. Always shop around for the best price
5. Read the small print
6. Double check the facts.
7. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion
8. Don’t hand over a cash deposit
9. Think very carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away
10. Trust your instincts
And finally … it’s OK to say no!
Dame Anne urges the public to look online or phone the Citizens Advice consumer helpdesk. If in doubt, visit http://www.adviceguide.org.uk or call 08454 04 05 06.