Warning as rogue traders target Dudwick woman

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A DUDWICK woman has warned householders in the area to be on their guard, after being approached by a rogue tradesman offering to tar her drive.

Marie Thom was at home when the flat-bed pick-up truck arrived at her door, driven by a man who claimed to be working for the council.

He offered to fix her winter-damaged drive with tar which had been ‘left over from a council job’. The man was described as around 5’10”, with mousy brown hair and blue/green eyes, was wearing a checked shirt and fluorescent jacket, and spoke with an English accent.

Marie told the Times: “I declined the offer and contacted the council afterwards to check up on whether or not the man and his company were actually working for them in the area. I was told on no uncertain terms that the company wasn’t, and that the council’s trading standards officer had already received complaints about this individual. I also called the police, who took the details and said that they would be investigating.”

She said that the presence of rogue tradesmen was worrying, and that it wasn’t the first time it had happened. She added that despite the apparent safety of living in the countryside, householders needed to be aware of the dangers posed by unwanted visitors.

“We had another guy turn up around a year ago offering the same thing, who we declined, and just recently our next door neighbour has been burgled. We used to leave our doors open, but not anymore.”

The card left at Marie’s house carried a mobile phone-number, an 0800-number and a website address which does not work. A spokesman from Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards confirmed that the local authority was investigating the reports, and urged householders to be careful when dealing with door-to-door salesmen.

Senior trading standards officer David Tough said: “Every year we receive complaints about workmen cold-calling consumers offering to carry out work such as laying and repairing driveways, roof repairs or gardening work.”

Regulations on doorstep selling provide consumers with a cooling-off period, and by law the trader must give written details of the right to cancel the agreement. Failure to do this is a criminal offence, and the contract cannot be enforced. The same rules apply if you contact a company by responding to an advertisement or a leaflet delivered to your home.

Mr Tough added: “If you are at home when you agree the terms of a contract you generally have seven days to change your mind. However, cold-callers will often pressurise consumers into having the job done quickly and will disappear after they have been paid.

“Consumers should not be misled by the presence of a geographical eg 01224 or 01346 telephone number on a flier or other document. These numbers can be purchased by people based anywhere and then automatically transferred to a mobile phone.”