People are urged not to use rogue traders who cold-call to tout for work at their property, after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) received a number of reports in recent weeks.
The OFT reminds people that cold calling is illegal for traders in the Isle of Man, including by telephone and asks the public to remain vigilant.
Householders approached in this way are often persuaded to accept an offer because they initially appear to be cheaper than local traders and they can begin straightaway.
Cowboy builders can be very persistent and will not readily take no for an answer.
Many rogue traders who cold-call not only carry out poor quality work, but also use sub-standard materials. Any 'guarantees' provided are likely to be worthless.
They will often pester householders into having unnecessary work done and have even been known to take their victims to the bank to secure payment. It means that if anything goes wrong, the traders are unlikely to return to put things right and will probably not be insured.
Friends, neighbours and relatives of the elderly and vulnerable should make them aware of the advice offered below.
- Do not use traders who call at your home without an appointment offering to do work
- Do not be pressurised into having unnecessary work done
- Do not fall for patter such as 'We were just in the area and noticed a problem
- Do not part with a significant amount of cash up front
- Put one of our 'We do not deal with uninvited traders' signs in the window of your porch or front door. These are obtainable from the OFT office or website
Anyone being pestered by a rogue trader should call the police or Trading Standards for advice. People that are concerned they have already fallen foul of a rogue trader should contact the OFT's Trading Standards team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning +44 1624 686500.
John Wannenburgh MHK, Chair of the OFT, said:
'Fortunately, such instances are not common on the Isle of Man, but when we are made aware of these cases we take them very seriously, as do the police and other enforcement agencies.
'I must make it clear that we will not hesitate to take positive enforcement action in such circumstances, in particular where the elderly or vulnerable are obviously being targeted.
'Our advice is simple, do not deal with uninvited traders. A significant number of traders who operate in this manner are not resident in the Island and will use 'hit and run' tactics, travelling to the Island for just a few days in the hope that the enforcement authorities will not catch up with them. The public are our eyes and ears so please contact either the OFT or the police before posting on social media if you suspect that a trader is cold calling.'