Cracking down on rogue traders

A national campaign to protect vulnerable people from rogue traders selling mobility aids is being backed by Derbyshire County Council.

The Office of Fair Trading drive aims to prevent older people falling victim to unscrupulous traders who knock on the door.

Derbyshire trading standards officers are adding their voice to the campaign to warn householders not to buy from sales people who turn up unannounced.

It follows a successful drive in Derbyshire to cut the number of complaints about rogue mobility companies from 638 in 2009/10 to 419 in 2010/11.

Complaints included doorstep callers falsely claiming to be from health authorities or social services, failure to provide or honour cancellation rights, aggressive selling and extortionate pricing.

Trading standards officers offer advice and support to legitimate mobility companies to make sure they are operating legally.

Councillor Kevin Parkinson, DCC’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Thankfully, the vast majority of traders in Derbyshire operate within the law and provide a good service.

“However, there are a handful of unscrupulous traders who will break the law to target some of the most vulnerable members of society.

“We are pleased to back the Office of Fair Trading campaign to warn Derbyshire consumers not to agree to buy items on the spot and to shop around. Customers can get a list of reputable mobility companies through the county council’s Trusted Trader scheme.

“This scheme offers peace of mind to consumers who can be assured that our trading standards officers carry out rigorous checks on the company before they are listed.”

Officers are working with the police to crack down on doorstep crime and to create “No Cold Calling” zones.

They have also worked with health service colleagues to protect people recently released from hospital who are most at risk of being targeted by rogue mobility companies.

Cllr Parkinson urged relatives and friends to be vigilant and reminded older people to be extremely careful before agreeing to buy mobility aids if approached on their doorstep.

To find a Trusted Trader visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/trustedtrader or Call Derbyshire 08456 058 058.