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Public warned to be aware of rogue traders

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Householders are being urged not to employ traders who call at their property to tout for work without an appointment, which is illegal in the Isle of Man.

The advice, issued by the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Isle of Man Constabulary, follows recent instances of traders cold calling at properties offering to carry out home improvement work.

The public are asked to remain vigilant and look out for vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours who could fall foul of rogue traders cold calling.

Rogue traders can be very persuasive, persistent and occasionally aggressive, using underhand scare tactics to secure jobs where the work is not actually needed. They can sound appealing by offering to start work there and then and by offering cheap unrealistic quotes and worthless verbal guarantees. However, this is often achieved using poor quality materials and leads to sub-standard work which is not guaranteed.

John Wannenburgh, Chair of the OFT, said:

“Cold calling on vulnerable householders and taking cash off them for little or no work is a particularly despicable crime. Householders should simply ask cold callers to leave. 

“If the cold caller is persistent then householders should contact Trading Standards or the police. These should always be the first port of call rather than social media. Social media can spread the message quickly that cold callers are in the area, which is great, but Trading Standards and the police need to know about them first. 

“It can be frustrating when work can’t be started straightaway, but it is worth waiting for an approved or trusted contractor to carry it out.”

The OFT offers the following tips:

  • Do not deal with traders who call at your house without an appointment
  • Do not be pressurised into having unnecessary work done
  • Do not fall for patter such as “We’ve got some tiles left over from a big job”
  • Do not part with a significant amount of cash up front
  • If a trader is pestering you for work, call Trading Standards on 686500, or the police.

In addition, the OFT can supply householders with a notice free of charge to place on their front doors to deter cold callers. If you would like a notice, contact the OFT by emailing or calling +44 1624 686500.

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