Don’t get caught out by a conman on the doorstep

Advice on dealing with doorstep selling is now available
Advice on dealing with doorstep selling is now available

A campaign has been launched to give elderly residents the confidence to conquer con artists and rid themselves of dreaded doorstep salesmen.

The Office of Fair Trading’s “Doorstep Selling Campaign” for 2012-13 aims to empower older or vulnerable consumers and allow them to make effective purchasing decisions when buying on their doorstep and reduce their vulnerability to rogue traders.

An OFT spokesman said: “We are working together with Falkirk’s local authority Trading Standards Services, Citizens Advice and other key players to increase awareness of the issue of rogue doorstep trading amongst the campaign’s primary target audience – UK residents over 70 years and their families, friends and carers.

“Doorstep selling can be a convenient way to buy, but there is a risk people may not understand their cancellation rights and they may be pressured into buying something they do not want or is not good value for money.

“Some doorstep traders are genuine, while some will deliberately mislead you, and worse, try to steal from you. They may say they have noticed some work needs doing on your house and they can do it today.

“Think twice. If you are in doubt after a knock at the door, you could say thanks, but I’d like to have a think about it.”

In some extreme cases thieves turn up on people’s doorsteps claiming to be there on official business - stating they are from Falkirk Council, or the police, or there to read your meter.

The OFT spokesman added: “Once you’ve let them into your home they distract your attention and steal money or goods.

“If someone turns up unexpectedly on your doorstep like this, always check out their ID before letting them in.

“If they don’t have ID, don’t let them in.”

The Doorstep Selling campaign informs consumers of their rights and gives them practical tips, including:

Think twice before you buy and if you are made to feel under pressure to make a purchase, have the confidence to say no

Be wary of time-limited or exclusive offers that need to be signed on the spot – this can be a high pressure sales tactic

Double check the facts. Do you fully understand the costs and know whether it includes extras like installation, on-going serving charges or warranties?

Call the Citizens Advice consumer line on 0845 404 0506 or visit {http://||Click here to visit Citizens Advice online}.