Help at hand to battle unwanted cold callers
Monday 9 July 2012
Coventry trading standards officers have launched a new scheme to tackle the rising number of residents having to deal with unwanted cold callers.
People living in the city can now pick up a free 'Stop Cold Calling' sticker pack to help deal with the growing problem.
The pack has been designed to be more effective is deterring those doorstep callers who blatantly ignore residents' wishes and continue to call or refuse to leave.
The sticker has wording specifically designed to create an offence if ignored by traders.
Councillor Faye Abbott, Chair of Coventry City Council's Scrutiny Board covering Community Safety, said cold callers were a problem, particularly for old and vulnerable people.
"This is a great new initiative giving Trading Standards another valuable tool to pursue unwanted doorstep rogue traders who ignore consumer's wishes and prey on the most vulnerable in our communities," she said.
"Such traders should be aware of the determination of our Trading Standards service to pursue them and prevent them from victimising vulnerable residents."
Cllr Abbott added: "If they ignore the wishes of residents, they now face potential enforcement action."
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits specific trading practices which are considered to be unfair to consumers. This includes conducting personal visits to consumer's homes, ignoring their request to leave or not to return. Failure to comply with the prohibition constitutes a criminal offence, punishable by a fine and / or imprisonment of up to two years.
Mike Lynn from Coventry Trading Standards said: "The initiative has been launched following an increase in the number of complaints from local residents relating to cold callers who will call unannounced and sometime use aggressive, oppressive or misleading techniques to obtain a deal.
"The dangers from rogue callers and burglars are obvious but residents are also fed up when some cold callers simply won't take a polite 'no thank you' to leave."
The new stickers make specific reference to The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which can be used by Trading Standards to take action against traders who simply do not leave a residents property when asked.
Councillor Abbot continued: "Our advice is never to deal with cold callers as this is a favoured approach used by rogue traders whose sole intention is to extract as much money from their victims as possible."
The free 'Stop Cold Calling' sticker pack is available from the main Council House Reception between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. An electronic version and more information is available at www.coventry.gov.uk/stop-cold-callers.
The packs are also being distributed to vulnerable residents through partners including Age UK Coventry, Midland Heart, Orbit Care & Repair, Coventry City Council Careline and West Midlands Fire Service.