Monday, 24 May 2010

False Claims used to Target Those in Need

By Ben Aulakh

People in one Midlands County are being warned about the high pressure sales tactics being used by a company to target the elderly and vulnerable.

Staffordshire County Council and East Staffordshire Borough council have joined forces urging vigilance after a company falsely claimed to be working with social services.

The firm targeted a number of properties in the east of the county; cold-calling occupiers and pressurising them into agreeing to a home visit before trying to convince them to buy expensive mobility equipment.

Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture in Staffordshire said, “It’s important to stress that if anyone receives a telephone call like this, do not engage in conversation with the caller or feel pressurised into agreeing to a home visit.

“It’s also important for consumers to know where they stand if they have purchased goods or services in their home.”

Under the Doorstep Selling Regulations, any trader must advise customers in writing that they can cancel a contract at any time.

If a trader fails to do this then the agreement can’t be enforced and people don’t have to pay, even if the goods have already been handed over.

Mr Adams added, “They have a number of rights, regardless of whether they invited the trader into their home or not.”

Under the regulations there is a cooling off period of seven days for customers if any goods bought cost more than £35, and customers can cancel a contract by letter or email within seven days of the contractual agreement becoming valid.

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