General Advice on Cold Callers and Scams 23/9/2009

posted 27 Aug 2010, 10:06 by Yateley NW Sec
It has come to my attention over the last couple of weeks that all types of companies are using aggressive/overly persuasive sales pitches to try to encourage homeowners to purchase whatever it is they are selling.  The companies may be totally legitmate and because of the recession they are trying extra hard to make a sale, however some may not be and to this end I would like to reiterate a few points regarding cold calling and telephone sales, bogus callers and scams.
Cold Calling - at the door or on the phone
If someone knocks on your door and tries to sell you something you are perfectly within your rights to firmly say no thank you and close the door.  You do not have to listen to the sales patter, you do not have to accept literature and you must certainly NEVER give personal information out over the doorstep.
If it is a cold call over the telephone you are entitled to say a firm no thank you and hang up. Again, NEVER give personal details over the phone.
As with any purchase there is a cooling off period so if you have purchased something that you do not feel 100% comfortable about, please remember you can cancel.
If you are at all concerned about the caller (phone or door) and/or feel upset or intimidated please let Trading Standards or the Police know.
You can arrange with Neighbourhood Watch or Trading Standards to make your road a No Cold Calling Zone, to do this please speak with your local NW co-ordinator, local Trading Standards office or your local Beat officers should be able to point you in the right direction.
If you do make  an appointment, whether as a result of a cold-call or not, ensure you get the details of the sales person who attends your premises. Then, should any follow up action be required the Police or Trading Standards are in a far stronger position to help if they have a name to report.
Bogus Callers
Bogus callers can be very plausable and I cannot give you a description of one as they come in all guises, however the same advice goes, if you haven't arranged for someone from a particular company/service to call at your door, then either don't open the door in the first place or if you do wish to open the door to speak to the caller, check their identity out by taking any id card/paperwork offered and then - close the door and call the 'supposed company' - to check that they have sent someone round - don't call the number on the id card/paperwork, use the phone book and call the registered telephone number of the company.  Only when you are 100% satisfied that your caller is genuine should you let someone into your home. 
Most companies nowadays offer a password to homeowners if they are due to call at your home to ensure that the company is not mis represnted and that the homeowner feels safe.  If you are arranging for someone to call at your home, ask for a password as an extra safeguard.
If someone knocks on the door asking for help (lost ball, broken down car, lost cat etc) then take the details, close the door and say you will go and look for the ball, ring a garage, look for the cat etc, do not let unknown people into your home.  
Scams can come in all sorts of guises, telephonically, electronically or through the post.  As with any scam they are trying to get money out of you.  Any kind of scam that you come across should be sent to Trading Standards, their Scamnesty email address is: -  or please call Trading Standards and speak to them directly including all information that you can give/remember.
If something comes through that sounds to good to be true - it usually is!
Not all homeowners have succumbed to these kinds of opportunistic crime, and my aim is not to instill a fear of crime but merely stress that you do not have to open your door if you feel uneasy, you do not have to let unknown people into your home, you do not have to arrange a visit from a company because you feel pressurised.  If you are concerned about whether you need extra security or have a crime prevention query, please speak with your local beat officers who will happily advise you, alternatively speak with your local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator who may be able to point you in the right direction.