RESIDENTS in the town have been conned out of £32,000 by cold callers and rogue traders since August, it has been revealed.
Trading Standards Officers at Swindon Council say they have received several complaints relating to money being handed over to a string of crooks over the past three months.
They say there are concerns over an increase in the number of complaints received and are urging people to stay safe in their own homes by saying a firm no to cold-calling doorstep traders.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) annual National Consumer Week – following a London launch by BBC presenter Gloria Hunniford and consumer minister Jo Swinson MP.
Householders are encouraged to download a no cold calling ‘super sign’ from www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.
It tells cold calling doorstep traders to go away – those who don’t are committing a criminal offence and consumers should report them to the police or trading standards.
Officers from Swindon are backing the national campaign to close the door on rogue traders and help end the heartache and financial loss that can be caused by those who often target the elderly and vulnerable.
More than 10,000 complaints are made about cold calling doorstep traders every year, but this is likely to only be the tip of the iceberg as victims are often too embarrassed and frightened to report incidents.
As part of the campaign, Swindon Trading Standards are working with Wiltshire Police to promote their Buy With Confidence assured trader scheme.
Trading Standards officers carefully check and audit businesses before they can become members of the scheme.
These checks include credit reference checks, legal audits, criminal record bureau checks where relevant and checking for Trading Standards complaints on the national database.
Councillor Vera Tomlinson, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for a safer, stronger borough, said: “Every day Trading Standards Officers up and down the country are dealing with cold callers targeting vulnerable consumers for expensive, unnecessary and badly done home maintenance work.
“Our message is clear: we think that there is only one way consumers can really stay safe from rogues in their own homes, and that is by saying ‘no’ to cold calling doorstep traders.
“Any consumer that needs a good, honest, reliable trader they can trust should get a trader from our Buy With Confidence Scheme.
“With our Cold Calling – Don’t Buy It campaign, we want to raise awareness amongst particularly the more vulnerable consumers that cold callers could be anyone and that they should never be dealt with.
“If you need work done on your homes use the Buy With Confidence Scheme via the internet at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or by calling 01793 466155.”