Thursday, 31 May 2012

Man arrested in Barrow in connection with cold calling

A man aged 25 from the Preston area was arrested yesterday by officers from Cumbria Police following an investigation into cold callers by Barrow CID and Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards.

The man was arrested on suspicion of aggressive selling practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  He has been interviewed and bailed until the 11th June for further enquiries.

DC Kerry Harris said “This investigation was as a result of a number of reports from concerned residents in Barrow about cold callers. We have arrested a man on suspicion of this offence but we ask the public not to be complacent and remain vigilant when a stranger calls trying to sell you something.”

Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council Trading Standards said: "We receive an increase in complaints about doorstep selling in the summer months. We urge householders to be cautious and take time to think about people who call at the door. Rogue doorstep traders will often offer services at attractive rates and use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions."

Cold callers or bogus callers succeed because they sound believable, so don't be fooled. Make sure in your own mind that they are whom they claim to be by following these simple steps:

•Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them. Keep your front and back doors locked.
•Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card with their photograph on.
•Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone the company the caller claims to represent.
•The Utilities now offer a password identification system. Any caller from one of these companies should be able to give a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.
•If in doubt, keep them out!
•Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere which may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice awaiting this distraction.
•If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don't let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return or ask the caller to contact this person.
•Also be extremely wary of callers who offer to sell you products, make repairs to the house or do other work for you. Always discuss it with relatives or friends and consider contacting your local Trading Standards Office for advice.
•Think carefully about any telephone calls or emails you receive and do not give out any personal information or bank or credit card details.
•Trading Standards and Police advise that if you are considering home security, take time to research the  providers in your area, get recommendations from friends or family or look on your local Trading Standards web site for approved traders.  
If you feel you have been a victim of cold callers, or have any information in respect of the two incidents, please contact Barrow CID on 101.

For general consumer advice contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

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