Cornwall Council Trading Standards has issued an urgent warning to homeowners to be on their guard against home maintenance firms currently calling door to door looking for work.
The warning comes as the Trading Standards team has received reports of a number of different firms operating across Cornwall, all of whom have caused concerns about over-charging, aggressive behaviour and fake props, such as rotten timber supposedly found in the roof.
In one report, a firm using the name Elite Construction and Property Maintenance threatened the homeowner when they challenged the quality and amount of work done for the price being charged.
In another incident the same firm tried to charge the homeowner £8,000 for pressure washing the driveway.
And in a third incident the same firm showed the homeowner a piece of rotten timber and tried to persuade her that she needed repairs to her roof.
Other firms, offering roofing repairs or driveway services have also been causing complaints after increasing quoted prices once the work had started, pressurising the homeowner to have work done that was not needed or was not wanted, over-charging and poor quality work.
A spokesperson for Trading Standards said: “A number of problem firms and gangs seem to be visiting Cornwall at the moment and all are intent on taking advantage of a shortage of availability of reputable, local businesses.
"Tactics will include using Cornwall or Plymouth addresses to make themselves seem local, using professional looking, sign-written vans, claiming to have been referred by a friend or neighbour or to be working in the area.
"But anyone who agrees to deal with these gangs risks losing thousands of pounds and suffering damage to their property that they then need to have repaired.
"The advice from Trading Standards is clear. NEVER deal with anyone who calls at your home without a prior invitation – no matter how keen you are to have work done and no matter how convincing the tradesmen sound.”
Story published on July 29, 2021