Trading Standards Officers and police are warning consumers of doorstep sellers operating in the area claiming to have been instructed by the Comhairle to assist with emergency repairs.
A spokesperson said, “We have received a number of complaints from consumers of doorstep sellers claiming to have been asked by the Comhairle to help with emergency repairs in light of the recent bad weather we have endured in the Western Isles. Neither the Comhairle nor any partner agency has asked anyone to come over from the mainland to carry out such repair work. Consumers should be aware that considerable problems have arisen from such traders in the past 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.
“Our advice is not to agree to anything. The best way for consumers to stay safe is to 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. These traders often target the elderly and vulnerable consumers so we are asking people to look out for their neighbours and should they have any concerns contact the Police on 101, Trading Standards on 01851 822694 or Faire on 01851 701702 (out of office hours).”
A spokesperson for Police Scotland, said, “Police Scotland, Highland and Islands Division is committed to reducing door-step crime, including bogus callers and rogue traders. These cunning criminals often target the most vulnerable members in society with potentially devastating consequences. We would advise householders who are arranging to have work done - perhaps as a result of the recent stormy weather - to research their options and seek a few quotes from different reputable companies, who will be happy to provide a full breakdown of the work they plan to carry out and what is included in the price.
“Even if the appointment is pre-arranged, be sure to ask for ID. Don’t assume the caller is genuine because they are wearing a uniform. If you have concerns regarding suspicious activity relating to bogus traders, please contact Police Scotland in the first instance on 101.”