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Caithness News Bulletins July 2004

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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. Other more unusual items being offered include power tools and dvd players.

Nigel Mackenzie, Head of Trading Standards, said:  ďA 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, Trading Standards Unit on 01463/228700 or by e-mail at consumer.advice@highland.gov.uk

Warn any elderly relatives or neighbours that people are on their way round in the Highlands and that they should be wary of getting work done from people calling at the house.  Tell them to check with someone before authorising work to be done or buying anything that seems like a bargain

Note From Bill Fernie At Caithness.org
My mother always said, "Never buy anything from someone who comes to your door".  If you did not ask for it why buy it.  I have found the advice works well and I apply it to tele-sales, fax sales and email sales.  Don't buy things suggested by other people cold-calling you and you are less likely to be ripped off.   Just say "No* at the door  "No" on the phone and never reply to the emails.  If you need goods or services check out reputable people or firms and check prices in shops and online.  Ask people you know and trust if you are not sure about getting work done.  If contacted by anyone requesting details about you always be suspicious no matter how convincing they sound.  Offer to phone them back and get a number you can check in the phone book.  Never give bank or credit card details to cold callers.