Oxfordshire residents are being warned to be wary of cold callers offering to conduct property repairs after the recent storms.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has received a high number of complaints about cold callers and leaflets for traders being put through doors, resulting in reports of overcharging for work, charging for unnecessary work and completing work of poor quality.

Councillor Dr Nathan Ley, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for public health, inequalities and community safety, said: “The start of storm season and the wet autumn weather is a perfect opportunity for doorstep criminals to take advantage of residents who have a leaking roof, broken tiles or are falsely told that such work is required to their property.

“It is also an opportunity to sell insulation products which can be unsuitable for residents’ needs. Many traders will be booked up, so the advice is to be wary of ‘traders’ who can arrive to start the work the following day and push for a quick agreement to use them.”

Jody Kerman, head of trading standards at Oxfordshire County Council said: “Don’t agree to offers of building work, home repairs or maintenance that come from a cold call. Don’t be afraid to say no, don’t be pressured and check with others if the work is required and what is a fair price to pay. If it’s out of the blue, it’s not for you.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team has urged residents to remember the following points:

  • Don’t agree to work from an unsolicited, cold call.
  • Be aware of ‘alarm bell’ tactics, claims such as – "I was working in the area and saw that your garden/roof needed urgent attention."
  • Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information. Trust your instincts.
  • Get a number of detailed quotes in writing, if you want work done.
  • Be cautious about any requests for large deposits.
  • Ensure the trader has sent over contract of the total price before any work starts and information regarding statutory 14 days cancellation rights. The trader should never ask someone to sign these away.
  • Check with friends and family for trusted recommendations and consider a trading standards’ approved trader, from the Buy With Confidence Scheme.

For more advice on consumer rights, or to report a rogue trader to trading standards, contact the Citizens Advice national consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or by visiting its website citizensadvice.org.uk.

If a crime is in progress or if you feel threatened or intimidated, call 999.