/ Home & Energy

Watch out for rogue doorstep sellers this winter

Puppy fixing a radiator

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?


Interesting – I am very elderly – I would never buy from cold callers anyway – I have a prominent sign which states “NO COLD CALLERS” If one does call – I have three VERY large – very interested dogs that will immediately bark and “lunge” at the door.(there is a clear sign that states “Beware of the Dog” )

Strangely I don’t get many cold callers – and never twice! 🙂

G L Attaway says:
14 October 2010

Tell them that you are on a capped price scheme and that cuts their stay on the doorstep considerably!

pickle says:
14 October 2010

I can’t hear the doorbell anyway!!

aparadekto says:
25 October 2010

Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

barbie65 says:
28 January 2011

i got a sticker from the council that i have put on my front door which says: WE DO NOT BUY OR SELL AT THIS DOOR
i have never had any problems with people coming up, they just walk past the house.
the council say that i could complain to the police if i did get hassled by these sellers because that notice is on my door, so i would recommend that people go to the council and ask for a door sticker th stop these sellers.
also, i am on the TELEPHONE PRIVACY SERVICE, EX DIRECTORY and POSTAL PRIVACY so i never ever get hassled on the doorstep,phone, or mail with these cold sellers

Like several other people I have made my own sticker to go on the door. It says ‘Be aware no cold callers’ This has dramatically stopped most unwanted callers and when I get the odd person who ignores it I simply recommend that they visit a well know high street chain of opticians and close the door promptly.