Residents need to be extra vigilant against rogue traders promising to repair damage to properties following the recent stormy weather.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Trading Standards are warning residents to make sure they hire the services of reputable traders when repairing any damage caused by the high winds and flooding.
Residents need to be extremely wary of uninvited cold callers offering repairs or maintenance, often at low prices to begin with.
These can vary from clearing guttering, power washing dirty driveways or repairing fences, roofs and sheds. If the resident agrees to their offer the criminals often claim there are other faults on the property and increase the charge by bullying house holders into parting with their cash.
David Jones, Head of Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “Unfortunately there are rogue traders in our midst who are looking to benefit from people’s misery.
“Criminals masquerading as builders and repairmen are cold calling residents offering repairs. But they are untrained and leave residents with large bills for sub-standard work. They may even lie to residents by inventing non-existing damage or exaggerating potential risks.
“We take all types of doorstep crime, such as rogue trading offences, extremely seriously. These criminals prey on the elderly and vulnerable and will use various tricks to offer DIY services, which are unsatisfactory and vastly over-priced.
“It should remind people of the danger they put themselves in when they accept offers of work from cold-callers and once again I would urge residents to only accept the services of a skilled trader who can properly identify the work that needs to be done.
“Only use traders who have been recommended by friends or family and who can provide references of their good work and do not accept work from cold-callers (no matter how convincing they may seem) and dont pay cash to unknown traders
“We will not tolerate rogue traders who prey on unsuspecting residents and over-charge for basic and substandard work.”
The Trading Standards Team are advising residents whose property has been damaged and requires repairing, to check insurance policies to clarify whether they are insured for storm damage and whether fences and garden sheds are covered in the policy.
If damage has already occurred ask your insurer if they have a list of approved traders they can recommend. If they don’t, ask friends or relatives to recommend a trader and if a builder is working nearby, ask the house holder what the builder was like and check the quality of their work.
It would be wise to check existing insurance policies (before losses occur) to ascertain the extent of the cover and to ask what the insurer requires the householder to do to protect their property. This will avoid unpleasant surprises and facilitate uncontested claims and prompt settlement.
People with concerns about suspicious activity can contact Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Trading Standards on 01443 425777.