North Yorkshire County Council trading standards officers are urging residents to always reject offers of work and goods by cold callers.
Councillor Derek Bastiman, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: “Experience tells us that rogue traders will try to take advantage in the aftermath of storms.
“Do not panic if someone knocks at your door and tells you a tile has blown off your roof or that tree branches are overhanging the footpath and must be cut back immediately.
"Close the door on the cold caller.
“Our trading standards service is committed to protecting our communities from those who seek to defraud them.
"We have a track record in prosecuting cold callers who target the vulnerable and elderly and people they think will pay for shoddy work.
“To any who consider offending in this way we have a strong message: you will be brought to justice.”
Trading Standards advise people concerned about storm damage and wanting to have their properties checked, to follow these tips:
- Do not agree to have work done by anyone who cold calls or door knocks at your property
- Ask friends and family for recommendations if you need a tradesperson - heck reviews online, but be aware that some traders do post fake reviews
- There is a government-endorsed scheme called Trustmark (www.trustmark.org.uk) that can help you to find a tradesperson
- Try to get at least three quotes for work so you can compare the work required and prices
- Make sure you know the trader’s name and address - if things go wrong it is usually easier to arrange a repair or refund with a local trader, so find out who you are dealing with and where to contact them
- If damage is weather-related, speak to your insurance company before agreeing to have work done - the company is likely to have a list of approved traders and may well want to instruct them to undertake any necessary repairs.
Councillor Bastiman added: “Officers have found cases in the past where the tactics used have included carrying loose tiles around to convince householders that their roof has been damaged.
“If someone knocks at your door and tells you that your house needs repairs or maintenance of any kind, be suspicious.
"Close the door on anyone who approaches you in that way.”
Residents can report rogue traders or get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service by calling 0808 223 1133.