Warning to consumers

Trading Standards have issued a warning to home owners in the Western Isles to be on their guard if they receive a visit from mainland based companies offering to carry out repairs to their property.

A spokesperson said: “This is the time of year when we see a rise in the number of complaints about itinerant traders who turn up on householders’ doorsteps.

“Consumers should be aware that such businesses in the past have caused considerable problems with shoddy workmanship and excessive prices.

“Once these problems come to light the traders have left the Islands and consumers effectively have no way of contacting them again or getting the problems resolved, leaving them considerably out of pocket.

“They often target the elderly and vulnerable consumers so we are asking people to look out for their neighbours if they are aware that these traders are in their area.”

The spokesperson continued: “if consumers agree to have work done in these circumstances they are entitled to a seven day cooling off period and our advice would be to use this period to consider if the job is really necessary or if a better deal could be obtained locally. The Comhairle runs a Buy with Confidence Scheme that can provide consumers with a list of local builders who have agreed to conduct their business in a fair and honest manner.

“Our best advice to consumers is that to stay safe from rogue traders in their own homes they should say “no” to cold calling doorstep traders. To help with this we can provide householders with a sign for their doors that says that cold callers are not welcome.”

Further advice can be obtained from Trading Standards on 01851 822694.