Consumer protection warns householders of the dangers of rogue traders

ABERDEENSHIRE’S Consumer Protection have reiterated warnings to the area’s householders about the dangers of rogue tradesmen after complaints from across the shire indicate increasing sophistication from the criminals in question.

The warnings come as rogue trader develop new ways to con householders, supplying false names, addresses and even phone numbers to lure potential customers into a false sense of security. Last year, the Times recorded on a number of scams in the Ellon area, with residents receiving phone calls asking for internet banking details. Aberdeenshire Consumer Protection also confirmed that rogue door-to-door tradesmen had been active in Formartine, with householders often reluctant to come forward after being ripped-off.

Speaking for the council’s Consumer Protection department, Trading Standards Officer Dave Tough told the Times: “These criminals traditionally operate via door knocking or cold calling. However, many are becoming more sophisticated in the way they operate. For example, some place advertisements in local papers or directories. Typically, the rogues pay cash for their adds, and provide false details with the result that they are extremely difficult to trace.

“Despite regulations that require doorstep sellers to provide consumers with cancellation rights and a name and address, often the only information victims have about these traders is a phone number. We are finding that these traders are increasingly using numbers with local area codes - 01224 for example - on their advertisements. This misleads customers into thinking that they are dealing with a local business, when in fact calls made to these numbers are automatically re-directed to rogue traders’ mobile phones.”

Concerns about rogue tradesmen should be reported to the council’s Consumer Protection Department at Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie, who can be contacted on 01467 628323.