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Warning over rogue traders

Published Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Workman taking money from an elderly woman at her front door

Our Trading Standards team has issued a warning over high pressure sales tactics targeting older people in our area.

The move comes after two local cases involving thousands of pounds. Both cases involved a Felixstowe based company, which has since gone into administration, but had previously been prosecuted by Suffolk Trading Standards in 2013 and 2015.

One South Lanarkshire resident contacted the firm, Westminster Recliners, to enquire about a Mobility Recliner Chair after seeing an advert in the Radio Times.

A representative from Westminster Recliners turned up at their door without an appointment, a common tactic among rogue traders designed to catch people alone and unprepared. There is evidence that high pressure selling was used to persuade the consumer to pay £4,898.

When the chair arrived it was totally unsuitable, a physiotherapist confirmed it was the wrong size for the consumer, an email was sent to cancel the order and the chair was uplifted by the trader but no money was refunded and the firm went into administration.

In the second local case a couple were persuaded to pay a £2000 deposit for a bed with massage function and a remote control. The bed was never delivered and the money has not been returned. Sadly the husband has since passed away.

Councillor John Anderson, the chair of the council’s Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, said: “Westminster Recliners has gone into administration but we believe those involved have links to another trader working in the same field. In addition the aggressive and manipulative sales tactics they used are common among rogue traders.

“We would always advise people to have a family member, friend or neighbour present when a salesperson calls. Reputable companies will not turn up unannounced and will have no objection to consumers, particularly the elderly or vulnerable, having someone present to support them.”

Trading Standards continue to investigate Westminster Recliners and recommend that anyone in dispute should contact them via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline on 0345 040506. 

If complainants are wishing to obtain a refund, and have paid using a debit card, Trading Standards recommends they contact their bank for assistance in obtaining a refund via the chargeback facility.