Rogue trader warning after Surrey man is conned out of thousands of pounds [01/05/2011]
One of the reasons why we began the BWC scheme was to give our residents the chance to avoid rogues and cowboys. It can’t work every time, of course, as this Police press release unfortunately demonstrates. It does however show how we take every opportunity to promote BWC.
“Surrey Police are warning residents not be taken in by rogue traders after an elderly man was fleeced out of thousands of pounds by bogus workmen. The 86-year-old victim, who lives in Bagshot, has parted with nearly £44,000 since November 5 for roofing work to his property, which was never carried out. The fraudsters, purporting to be from a company called Goss and Sons, persuaded the victim that the roofing work was essential and conned him out of thousands of pounds. When officers attended, after being alerted by the victim’s bank, the only thing the conmen had done was drape a plastic sheet over the roof. Police are urging members of the public in West Surrey, especially the elderly and vulnerable, to be on their guard against unsolicited callers offering to do work. Detective Constable Stuart Pittaway, who is investigating this offence, said: “These rogue traders have taken advantage of a vulnerable resident who has felt pressured into handing over thousands of pounds from his savings to pay for roofing work which has never been carried out. They have even made him withdraw money from different banks so as not to arouse suspicion. We would urge people not to engage with trades people who turn up on your doorstep unannounced. Use a door chain and don’t enter into a conversation. “Equally, don’t be taken in by any persuasive argument they may conjure up to have the work done in the first place. If possible take a note of any vehicle they might be using or any descriptions of the individuals and call Surrey Police to report the incident if it has made you feel uneasy.” DC Pittaway added: “We are carrying out a thorough investigation into this incident and are determined to catch the offenders before they target any more vulnerable residents.” If you are in any doubt about needing to carry out work on your property get a second opinion. Ask friends and neighbours for recommendations and only use reputable or registered companies for second opinions and formal estimates/quotes. Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service has a doorstep crime team that works closely with Surrey Police and reiterates the advice that homeowners should never deal with cold calling traders.
Anyone who wants to find a reputable trader can use the trading standards 'Buy With Confidence' scheme that has over 400 members. Enquires can be made through www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk. Alternatively, contact Surrey Trading Standards Service via Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.”