‘Look after your neighbours’ – that’s the plea from the Safer New Forest Partnership in a bid to crack down on rogue traders.
New Forest residents are urged to be on their guard against doorstep sales people who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and bully potential customers into signing on the dotted line.
The Partnership, which includes Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Community Safety Officers, is concerned that elderly people in particular may feel pressurised into letting sales people into their homes and agree to costly, unnecessary and possibly fraudulent services.
The other worry is that elderly residents may become the target for distraction burglaries where one person posing as a sales representative keeps them talking while an accomplice enters the home to steal money or property.
“Please be wary if door-to-door sales people call uninvited,” said Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC portfolio holder for Housing and Communities. “If you receive an unwelcome visit, close your door immediately and contact the police on 101, and if you have elderly neighbours, please check on them and warn them to do the same.”
Hythe and Dibden community safety officer Norman Bareham raised the concern after salesmen claiming to be from a home improvements firm used hard sell tactics on residents in the Holbury and Hythe area.
He said: “One of the ladies had ‘No cold calling’ and ‘No buying at this door’ stickers plastered all over her door and windows. When the guy knocked on her door, she pointed this out, but he then tried to sell her new fascias for her house.
“She said the man wouldn’t take no for an answer and refused to leave. She said she kept telling him she couldn’t afford to have any work done but he wouldn’t listen.
“Eventually she had to shut the door on him to make him go away.”
The ‘No cold calling’ stickers are available from New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council information offices or by contacting Community Safety co-ordinator Stephanie Bennett on 023 8028 5588, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Genuine utility companies have agreed they will not cold call where they see these stickers displayed. If their representatives ignore the sticker – the householder should ask which company they are from and then contact Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Quick Response Team on 01962 833666.