Help to avoid scam artists
5:30am Saturday 12th April 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
ROGUE traders scammed hundreds of pounds out of an elderly woman who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Graham Viret’s mother, Doreen Tyler, is 85 years old and has severe short-term memory loss, and traders fleeced more than £900 from her wallet.
He is backing a new campaign by Swindon Council’s Trading Standards officers and Wiltshire Police, as part as part of National Rogue Trader Week.
Graham, 56, from Stratton, said: “I’m disgusted about it. They deliberately target vulnerable people and pensioners.
“It all started about 18 months ago when she had a gardener who would turn up and she would let him in, and he would do a few jobs then charge her a lot of money.
“We arranged for someone else to do the work but whether it was coincidence or not he turned up as well and did the work.
“The gardener I had arranged quoted £45 for the job, but when I checked mum’s cheque book stubs £600 had been taken for the same job.”
Doreen has been targeted five times by tradesman offering to fix the roof and sell vacuum cleaners or even solar panels.
Graham said: “One day someone went around there and she signed up for solar panels costing £6,000 and put down a deposit of £1,500.
“Solar panels don’t really start kicking in until 25 years down the line. How is an 85-year-old going to benefit?”
Trading Standards officers and Wiltshire Police will be out and about in areas most targeted by rogue traders in the town, urging residents to only choose traders on their Buy With Confidence Traders In Swindon leaflet.
Buy With Confidence only lists traders that have been carefully vetted by Trading Standards.
Trading Standards and the police warn people to look out for cold callers who use fraudulent and misleading practices to extort money from their victims, through deliberately overcharging, charging for unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately to get work, leaving work unfinished and intimidating customers to get money.
Paul Simmonds, public protection manager for Swindon Council, said: “All too often we speak to householders who realise too late they have been duped by the charming and kindly trader that knocked at their door offering a good price and a thorough job.
“Our Buy with Confidence scheme offers a much better alternative. We also offer a free mediation service if any disputes do arise.”
Anyone looking to have work done can search for reputable local tradesman at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
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