Chapmen are those persons who seek to buy personal and household goods such as antique furniture, crockery and jewellery. They may go from door to door or set up in a hotel.
The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for licensing such persons so that only those who are fit and proper come knocking on your door. This is very important as these persons often gain access to your dwelling and get to know if you possess anything of value. It is not unknown for persons masquerading as chapmen to visit private dwellings and while trying to persuade the householder to sell items for ridiculously low prices they are also surveying the house for security systems. Later, they or persons associated with them will break into the dwelling and steal any items of value.
If you receive a visit from anyone claiming to be interested in purchasing any items you should ask to see their licence. This will be in the form of a credit card sized card issued by the Office of Fair Trading bearing a gold hologram in the right hand corner and a photograph of the chapman in the left. You should check that the photograph is that of the person visiting and make a note of the name on the card.
If you have any doubts, don’t let the person into your home and contact the Office of Fair Trading by phone, fax or e-mail.
It is a criminal offence for anyone to operate as a chapman without a licence.