Doorstep crime

Doorstep crime can affect anyone but often elderly, vulnerable and socially excluded persons are targeted. Traders will often try to identify these households, eg overgrown garden, mobility aids.

What is doorstep crime?

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Doorstep crime most commonly includes:

  • Traders knocking and offering guttering/roofing/paving services, (called 'cold calling').
  • Gardening or tree cutting services.
  • Taking deposits and not returning.
  • Charging prices which would not be 'reasonable'.
  • Not giving cancellation notices out to consumers after cold calls.
  • Taking consumers to banks/building societies.
  • 'Hard sell' of products, causing fear to consumers.
  • Shoddy or poor work, causing consumers to pay out again.
  • Refusing to sort out problems.

Doorstep crime can cause the following problems:-

  • Deposits taken and work not done.
  • Work only partly completed, have to pay again to finish the job.
  • No guarantees or warranties.
  • Can't trace the trader after the event.
  • Consumer can feel embarrassed or stupid which can affect their self esteem.

Remember - You're in your own home - you're not obliged to buy anything from anyone at anytime

Use a spyhole or chain to identify who's calling.  Insist on seeing identification and check it.

  • Don't feel rushed into agreeing to buy.  Take time to make a decision.
  • If you have any suspicions or concerns, ask the trader to leave, close the door and call the police or trading standards.  Don't allow any callers or workmen to take you to the bank, building society or post office.

If you are contacted by such traders, they may be involved in doorstep crime. Ring trading standards or the police as soon as possible to pass on the following information:

  • Address or area where trader is working
  • Description of trader
  • Vehicle and registration
  • Type of work
  • Is trader still present.

More information about preventing door step crime and bogus callers can be obtained from Devon and Cornwall Police