Brrr, it’s starting to get a bit chilly. If a trader turns up on my doorstep trying to sell warming home improvements, I don’t have a problem closing the door. But I do have elderly relatives who might fall for such tricks.
So it’s unsurprising that the Office of Fair Trading and Age UK have made an effort to raise awareness of rogue doorstep traders. It’s exactly at this chilly time of year when we’re open to traders offering winter home improvement services.
Consumer Direct, the government’s advice service, had more than 5,000 complaints about doorstep traders offering home maintenance work last year. This is a 16% rise from the previous year. In my conversations with Consumer Direct, they told me that these complaints covered everything from people being unhappy about pressure selling tactics, to the quality of work carried out.
There’s nothing innately wrong with salesmen knocking on people’s doors. But many of the traders I’ve spoken to during my time at Which? say they just don’t need to go door-to-door. It’s their good work that gives them repeat business, and word-of-mouth brings in new customers.
How to deal with doorstep sellers
- If a salesman does land on your doorstep, know your rights. Any contract signed in your home can be cancelled, provided it’s within 7 days.
- Check out more about your rights in our guide to doorstep selling.
- You can also find recommended traders on Which? Local.
Have you, or someone you know, been victim to the sharp practice of doorstep traders? And what do you think is the best way to tackle this problem?