Birmingham residents are being urged to be â€˜good neighboursâ€™ to protect vulnerable people against being victims of doorstep crime.
Birmingham City Councilâ€™s trading standards team will be offering advice on this at drop-in sessions across the city as part of National Consumer Week, which begins on Monday (3 November 2014).
This yearâ€™s campaign, run by the Trading Standards Institute, is Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders which encourages friends, family, neighbours and carers to help protect vulnerable citizens against doorstep crime by looking out for each other.
Doorstep crime refers to rogue traders, who cold call at a consumerâ€™s home to carry out repairs to their property, convincing them to pay extortionate fees for substandard or incomplete work which is often unnecessary.
The latest research on doorstep crime, conducted by the National Trading Standards Board, shows there could be as many as 170,000 incidents each year. However, while it affects so many households, it is under reported.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city councilâ€™s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: â€œDoorstep crime is a serious issue but it often goes unreported for various reasons such as embarrassment, not knowing who to contact or even realising theyâ€™ve been subject to a crime. This is why this campaign is vital in raising public awareness.
â€œSuch traders prey on the elderly and vulnerable, turning up uninvited and pressure people into having unnecessary work done, which is often sub-standard, for hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Anyone can fall victim to a rogue trader and we need the help of all residents to stop this sickening crime.â€
The campaign encourages nominated neighbours to give elderly or vulnerable members of the community a postcard for their front door, with the neighbour’s contact details, informing cold-calling doorstep traders to speak with them on the resident’s behalf. This prevents direct contact between vulnerable residents and traders, reducing the risk of doorstep crime taking place.
The Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders campaign is a partnership between Birmingham City Council, the Trading Standards Institute, Citizens Advice and the National Trading Standards Board.
For details of local advice events visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/tradingstandards and click on â€˜doorstep crimeâ€™.
If you have any concerns about doorstep crime please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or email Birmingham Trading Standards on firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
A case study – a pensioner in Sutton Coldfield who was targeted by a rogue trader – is available on request.
A series of drop-in advice sessions are being held across Birmingham as part of National Consumer Week, which are detailed below:
Monday, 3 November:
Quinton Library, Ridgeacre Road, Quinton â€“ 10.30am to 1pm
South Yardley Library, Yardley Road, Birmingham â€“ 10.30am to 12.30pm
Tuesday, 4 November:
Cotteridge Church, Pershore Road South, Cotteridge â€“ 10.30am to 1pm
Wyndley Leisure Centre, Clifton Road, Sutton Coldfield â€“ 10.30am to 12pm
Wednesday, 5 November:
Gala Bingo, 1 Streetly Road, Stockland Green â€“ 10.30am to 1pm
Shard End Community Centre, 170 Packington Avenue, Shard End â€“ 10.30am to 12pm
Thursday, 6 November:
All Saints Vicarage Centre, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath â€“ 10am to 12pm
One Stop Shopping Centre, 2 Walsall Road, Perry Barr â€“ 10am to 12pm
Spring Hill Library, Spring Hill â€“ 1pm to 3pm
Northfield Library, 77 Church Road, Northfield â€“ 1pm to 3pm
Friday, 7 November:
Unit 22, Indoor Market, Bull Ring, Birmingham â€“ 10am to 1pm