Consumer services

Say no to home crime

The Economics Department’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) is warning consumers of the dangers of employing door-to-door callers, as part of its “Say No to Crime in the Home” campaign.

TSS campaign “Say no to crime at home”.

Over the past year, TSS has received over 200 complaints from consumers who have been victimized by home criminals. These marketers deliberately target elderly and vulnerable consumers who live alone by calling their homes, often uninvited, and offering to carry out home improvement or property repairs.

Complaints to TSS include consumers who have lost large sums of money for work that has been proven to be of minimal value, often requiring the consumer to pay substantial sums to legitimate traders to have the work done. be rectified. Further, consumers also alleged that they felt intimidated and pressured into agreeing to pay for additional work they did not want or need.

Complaints have also been received from consumers who have used local neighborhood websites where the public is invited to post the jobs they need, in the belief that they will avoid the kind of rogue traders who show up on their doorstep. However, door-to-door criminals have adapted their methods and are now present on such websites and often respond to such requests. Marketers often use fake profiles and heavily under-quote job postings to get a response.

In reality many of these tradesmen are criminals who will charge very inflated prices for shoddy work or for work that is not needed and in many cases the tradesman will immediately start working on the property and then the will leave unfinished or in very poor condition. state of repair.

TSS therefore advises consumers not to hire tradesmen who show up on the doorstep offering to do work around the house or garden. Kevin McNamara of the TSS said: “We are seeing more and more the devastating effects of home crime on its victims. In addition to huge financial losses, many also suffer from emotional trauma, the onset of health problems and a prolonged fear of crime.

Mr McNamara went on to advise: ‘To deter steps from rogue traders, you can put a sign on your door or window advising any door callers looking for business that they are not the welcome. You can point the sign at all unwanted callers and inform them that if they persist in trying to sell their services, they may be committing a criminal offense.

No cold call signs and more help and advice can be obtained from Consumerline or by calling 0300 123 6262.

TSS advice to consumers is:

  • Don’t buy at the door – no matter who calls you or what they seem to be offering;
  • Consider installing door cameras and video doorbells;
  • Do not open the door to anyone who shows up uninvited, regardless of their story. Keep the chain;
  • Always take your time – legit traders won’t rush you into making a decision;
  • If possible, choose a merchant who has been recommended to you by your family or friends;
  • Obtain written quotes from at least three traders to compare prices;
  • Do not pay until the work is completed to your satisfaction;
  • Beware of vulnerable or elderly neighbors or family members; and
  • Use the “Designated Neighbor” program

Notes to Editors:

1. TSS is participating this week, April 11-15, in the National Trading Standards advertising campaign to highlight the dangers of home crime.

2. To keep up to date with Department news, you can follow us on the following social networks:

3. To keep up to date with Trading Standards Service news, you can follow them on the following social networks:

  • Twitter- @TSSNI
  • Facebook – @TSSNI

4. For media enquiries, contact the Department of Economics Press Office at: [email protected]

5. The Executive Information Service runs an after-hours service for media inquiries only between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Monday to Friday and on weekends and public holidays. The permanent press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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