Trading standards authorities across the Midlands are working with the home security industry to stamp out rogue traders.
Over the last few years, a number of rogue traders supplying burglar alarms and other home security devices have been prosecuted and in some cases imprisoned. In the last 12 months central England trading standards has received 116 complaints relating to burglar alarms, with a total loss to consumers of £92,296. However, it is feared that the actual number of incidents is far higher than this.
Trading standards is now looking to engage with the many legitimate home security suppliers, to drive out these rogue traders.
Mike Pigrem, head of trading standards and licensing at Herefordshire Council, said: "These rogue traders will usually cold call their elderly victims by telephone and claim to be part of an official crime reduction campaign or similar. They may offer `free` or greatly discounted alarms and ask for a home visit, where high pressure sales tactics are often used, including saying that the special offer will be lost if consumers don`t sign there and then.
He continued: “The 14 day right to cancel and cooling off period is then often lost, as they fit the alarm the very next day. Unfortunately, other hidden costs can also be passed on to unsuspecting consumers for monitoring and maintenance, which mean the installed alarm can cost up to an astonishing £4,000, when it could have been purchased cheaper elsewhere.”
Herefordshire has been regularly targeted by such rogue traders and as part of Scams Awareness Month, trading standards is urging consumers to say NO to cold callers.
Home security firms looking to work with trading standards are encouraged to join the council’s trader register and sign up to a code of practice. Any interested parties should contact trading standards on 01432 261761 or visit the trader register at www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire.
Photo caption: L/R Mike Pigrem, Herefordshire Council, head of trading standards and licensing, Sue Thomas, Superintendent for Herefordshire, West Mercia Police, Councillor Graham Powell, Cabinet member economy and corporate services.