Warnings issued about rogue traders

Greater Manchester Police and Council officers are warning people in Stockport to be aware of the dangers of rogue traders, and how to spot suspicious behaviour.

Rogue traders can pose as any kind of worker, from property maintenance, gardeners and builders to people from the gas board, cold calling people offering services.

Rogue traders offer sub-standard or non-existent goods and services which are often unnecessary and at grossly inflated prices. Work may start as a simple gutter cleaning job or gardening work but then escalates as other “problems” are uncovered. Offenders often target the vulnerable or elderly and can also intimidate residents in order to extort money.

There are a few simple steps you can take:

  • Don’t feel pressured into making a decision on your doorstep.
  • Use a spy hole, chain or window to have a look at the caller before answering the door and keep the chain on. If you do not recognise the caller then speak through the closed and locked door.
  • Always ask for proof of identity. Take it from the person (through the letterbox) and read it carefully before deciding what to do.
  • Never use a phone number provided by the caller as it could be a false number to an accomplice.
  • Avoid going outside so they can show you what needs doing as they may have an accomplice who will enter your house while you are distracted to steal from you.
  • Never pay for work before it is completed. Always agree a final price in writing and get an invoice and receipt as proof of payment.
  • Do not accept any offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money or give them your bank details.
  • If you need to get work done to your home, get several written quotes from trustworthy or recommended firms and then decide who is right for you.

Look out for your neighbours

Friends, neighbours and people who have regular contact with older and vulnerable people can help them to make their lives more secure.

Research shows that fewer frauds are committed in areas where there is a supportive community.

You can help by:

  • Keeping an eye on people calling in the area or acting suspiciously.
  • Calling on vulnerable people regularly. If it is not too much trouble, help them keep their front garden tidy and find reliable tradespeople for any maintenance work that really does need to be undertaken.
  • Look out for vehicles without business details doing general gardening/driveway or building work.
  • Inform the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06or trading standards about suspicious people, activity or vehicles, however insignificant it may seem.

If you have concerns about any work you see taking place please report it to Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06.

Councillor Sheila Bailey, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing at Stockport Council, said: “Rogue traders often target older or more vulnerable people and I would urge people to look out for their family, friends and neighbours. If you have concerns or suspect you have been targeted by a rogue traders please contact Trading Standards.”

Inspector Alex Taylor of GMP’s Stockport borough said: "Rogue traders can rob hard-working people out of large sums of money and give honest, professional workers a bad name.

“We are working closely with the Council to give people the knowledge to be able to spot a rogue trader and protect themselves and others from falling victim. The more information we can give to people, the easier it will be to stop the offences taking place.

"Any work on a house should be carried out by an approved trader who will be happy to show you their credentials and agree a fixed price before any work is carried out. If anyone does come knocking at your door and is aggressive in trying to persuade you work needs doing on your home, please refuse them and shut the door.”

Police in Stockport are providing a range of door stickers, leaflets and guidance materials. If you want copies for your family, neighbours or community groups please contact Alexandra.Fowler@gmp.police.uk