Rogue traders and bogus callers

Information on how to buy wisely and safely on your doorstep.

Many people who sell items on the doorstep are legitimate traders, but unfortunately some are not.

Suffolk Trading Standards are providing the following top 10 tips on how to deal with doorstep sellers:

  1. Never sign or agree to anything on the spot
  2. Check the trader’s identity. Always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check the salesperson’s identity is genuine
  3. Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home
  4. Always shop around for the best price
  5. Read the small print. Always read documents carefully before you sign them and make sure you fully understand your rights
  6. Double check the facts. Make sure you fully understand the total costs of the transaction –including estimates, delivery and installation and the arrangements for after-sales servicing
  7. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion
  8. Don’t hand over a cash deposit. Avoid handing over money before work is started. A reliable trader will never ask you to do this
  9. Think very carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away. If you agree to have any work done or goods delivered within the seven day cooling-off period, you may have to pay if you later change your mind and cancel the contract
  10. Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are contacted by a doorstep traders or are aware of any operating in your residential area, contact Trading Standards via 03454 040506.

What is the law on cold calling?

Each year, we receive many complaints from residents who have been conned on their own doorsteps by rogue traders. These cons can involve many thousands of pounds and are often on the most vulnerable residents.

Know your rights around the law and cold calling doorstep traders

If you pay or agree to pay over £42 for any services or goods that are sold to you in your home, then:

  • You have 14 days to cancel the agreement. If you cancel, any monies that you have paid should be returned to you.
  • The trader must give you a written notice of your cancellation rights when you agree the contract. If the trader doesn't provide you with this information, they commit a criminal offence.

This protection applies even when you invite a trader to your home.

Although doorstep calling is not illegal, the law states that a trader who ignores a resident's request to leave and not return commits a criminal offence. You can show you do not want to receive visits from cold calling doorstep traders by displaying our sticker.

Any trader that puts you under pressure by suggesting you have to make a decision there and then, or that the "special price" is only available for a limited period in order to make you sign up, may be committing a criminal offence.

Doorstep traders are trained in sales techniques and can be very persuasive.

Be very wary of signing anything as you may give up your rights to cancel.

Our advice is to always say "No thank you - please leave" and then immediately close the door. If the trader won't go away, tell them that you will call Suffolk Trading Standards. If you feel under real threat or in danger, you should contact Suffolk Police.

No Cold Calling Zones

No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZs) are specific geographical areas where residents have identified that they do not want visits from unsolicited or 'cold' callers.

NCCZs allow residents to collectively prevent traders and salespersons from calling at their homes without a prior appointment. They're created in partnership with residents, Trading Standards, local Councillors, the police and other key local partners.

Find out more about how you can nominate your road.

'No Cold Calling' sticker

  • Are you fed up with receiving visits to your home from cold calling traders?
  • Are you concerned about rogue traders calling on your elderly or vulnerable neighbours, looking for work?

If so, say "no" to cold calling doorstep traders with a Suffolk Trading Standards door sticker.

Suffolk residents can request sticker by calling Trading Standards on 01473 264859 or via email on tradingstandards@suffolk.gov.uk

Super Sticker

Checkatrade

Checkatrade is a online directory of local trades people who have been checked by Suffolk Trading Standards and are committed to treating their customers fairly.

How it works

The Checkatrade directory allows consumers to see what others have said about a trader, enabling you to find the right tradesman for your needs.

In exchange for this free service, you will be asked to give feedback on traders for others to read.

If you are unable to access the online directory please call 0333 0146 190.

You can also download the Checkatrade app on your smartphone to find your nearest trader.