Chop the trend and be on your guard against tree-surgeon Rogue Traders

Published date
News category
Trading Standards

Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard against rogue traders touting for work door to door. 

The warning comes after several incidents across the County.  

In recent incidents fraudsters claiming to be tree surgeons have targeted elderly and vulnerable residents.  Cold calling at the property or claiming they are working in the area; they state that trees are either diseased or unsafe.  They create fear by stating that the tree will fall and injury someone, or as in one case the diseased tree was poisonous.  One off deals are offered to secure the work immediately adding to the pressure. 

Whatever the work it is generally of an unacceptable quality and despite claimed price reductions or deals , it is so poor that it is usually not worth the money that was first agreed. The usual type of work they carry out will be home improvements such as installing patio’s, driveways, roofing or building work or gardening work including tree surgery. Rogue Traders are only there to make as much money as they can using fraudulent means.  

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities at Worcestershire County Council said:

“Never agree to having work done when you’re cold called.

“If a job needs doing, get at least three quotes from different tradespeople and take your time to make an informed decision.

“Always use a reputable company that people you know and trust have recommended.

“As good neighbours, we should always be on the look-out for each other and if someone starts work on your vulnerable neighbour’s home, don’t hesitate to report them to the council.”

Traders must give you a 14-day cooling off period and a written contract if they call at your home or business premise and offer to carry out work where the cost exceeds £42. This is a legal requirement, and it is an offence if they don’t.

If you are approached by any cold caller and feel threatened or intimidated in any way, secure your premises, close and lock your door and telephone the police on 999.

Trading Standards is also asking residents to look after the elderly and vulnerable within their communities. 

Signs that an unwanted doorstep caller might be visiting a neighbour may be:  

•    a van parked nearby with workmen in, on, or near your neighbour's property  

•    ladders or scaffolding suddenly appear 

•    noises such as banging, drilling, or chainsaws  

•    trees are suddenly removed or pruned in your neighbour's garden 

•    poor quality work visible on the roof, driveway, or property 

•    your neighbour appears anxious or distressed 

•    your neighbour leaves their house more frequently to visit bank, building society, or post office accompanied by a trader  

Residents to report suspicious callers, rogue traders or traders ignoring any requests to leave to Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 0808 223 1133