Information on rogue doorstop sellers....

Older people in the UK are facing a growing risk of being targeted by rogue traders ahead of a cold winter, according to Age UK.

Michelle Shambrook from The Office of Fair Trading and Helena Herklots from Age UK, give information on what rogue doorstep sellers do and how you can avoid the pitfalls.

The Office of Fair Trading and Age UK have joined forces to warn people of the risks of these rogue doorstep traders. Doorstep selling is not illegal but thousands of incidents have led to complaints.

Michelle Shambrook, Operations Manager for Consumer Direct says, "Illegitimate traders are a threat to everybody, especially the elderly or more vulnerable members of the community, but they really are a threat to anybody at any time depending on what they are selling."

Scams to watch out for include:


Roof repairs:

In anticipation of wet winter weather, rogue builders may convince you that some of your roof tiles look unsafe, offering to repair them for a small fee. Whilst on the roof the rogue trader may ‘discover' other problems, advising that it's vital to have them fixed urgently otherwise your house may leak and become liable to rain damage in a heavy downpour. A high fee will then be charged for this additional (unnecessary) work.


Driveway maintenance:

A common scam seen across the UK focuses on driveway improvements. Typically a trader claims to have enough tarmac left from a neighbouring driveway to cover your drive; offering a cut price to do the work.

Often the offer will be presented as only available for one day, requiring a cash payment upfront. Unfortunately in some cases the trader will then disappear with the cash leaving you without a newly tarmaced driveway, or the work will be carried out but to a poor standard.


Cavity wall insulation:

Saving energy and insulating property is a hot topic at the moment. Sadly rogue traders are capitalising in this and offering cavity wall insulation services. The actual scam can vary, but often a bogus trader will claim to be part of an energy-saving scheme offering discounted rates, they may state that the home-owner can claim back the cost of the work under an energy conservation scheme, or they sometimes over exaggerate the potential reduction in heating bills.

Across these situations high prices will be charged for shoddy or non-existent work.

"With last year's freezing temperatures still fresh in people's minds, we want to raise awareness of rogue doorstep traders offering services to prepare homes before bad weather sets in" notes Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK.

"Although crime against older people is less likely than other age groups, rogue doorstep traders often target those who are older or more vulnerable, so it's important to be aware of the risks."

Please note: The views expressed in this film are not those of the BBC.