News: Beware Of Dubious Damp Proofers
Tuesday, 1st June 2004
Householders have been warned to guard against "cold calling" damp proofers offering unnecessary and over-priced work.
Following a number of complaints to Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards officers, guidelines have been drawn-up to protect the public.
Last year, the department received dozens of calls from people who had been offered "free damp checks". Once accepted, damp detection meters found problems.
A hard sell for remedial work followed, including so called "price reduction" offers, with quotes ranging from several hundred to several thousand pounds.
In one extreme case, an elderly pensioner was quoted £18,000, which, after intervention from the Trading Standards Service, was not accepted.
Trading Standards reports householders are being targeted again this year and is urging consumers to take the following steps if they think they have a damp problem:
- Shop around and get more than one estimate from established contractors with fixed premises and landline numbers, who are willing to give references.
- Do not allow doorstep tradesmen into your house if you are alone and feel vulnerable.
- Never agree to have work done under pressure, or be tempted into a "reduced rate" if you sign immediately.
Jim Potts, Lancashire County Council's Chief Trading Standards Officer, said past complaints had shown householders should be wary of "cold calling", or doorstep tradesmen and should not immediately agree to work being carried out.
"Do not be impressed with damp meters," he urged. "If you think work needs doing, shop around and look for reputable businesses willing to give a free quote and time to consider their offer.
He added that although doorstep deals were subject to a seven-day cooling off period, householders could find themselves being hurried into signing up and paying for the job within this period.
Call Trading Standards Consumer Advice line on 0845 600 1352 for further advice.
For further information please contact: Neil Graham on 01772 531095