Trading Standards - consumer advice

Citizens Advice Website

Consumer advice is provided by Citizens Advice Consumer Service who offer free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.  Their website provides lots of information and advice about what you rights are and how to take action.

 You can get advice on:

  •  goods that are faulty, not fit for their purpose, or described incorrectly
  • services that have not been carried out with reasonable care and within a reasonable time or for an acceptable price
  • what to do if you think you have been scammed

If the website does not provide you with an answer to your problem, you can contact them through their online enquiry form or call 03454 04 05 06.

If you need advice on more complex consumer advice issues or need to make a complaint, Citizens Advice will refer these to the council's consumer advice section, part of Powys Trading Standards.

 

 

 

 

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If you need work done on your property, the TrustMark scheme helps you find a tradesman who has been approved under the TrustMark scheme. TrustMark is the Government backed approved trader scheme designed to make sure that traders are reputable and carry out good quality work.  Businesses who become members of the scheme commit to running their businesses in a legal, honest and fair way and are vetted and monitored by a Trustmark Scheme Operator.

Find a Trustmark approved trader

Scam artists set out to get you to part with your cash. Everyone should be on their guard as scammers are very sophisticated at fooling people that what they are offering is legitimate.

The following are typical scams:

  • Letters from psychics or clairvoyants promising to make predictions that will alter your fortunes for a fee. Sometimes they threaten that bad things will happen if you don't respond.
  • 'Phishing' for your identity, such scammers ask for your personal account details claiming that they are from a legitimate business you deal with. They will use your details to take money from your account or to buy luxury items on your account.
  • Bogus holiday clubs offer a free luxury holiday but you may have to pay for flights, meals and other add ons. You may be subjected to a long presentation to sell you an unwanted timeshare deal.
  • Pyramid selling/gifting schemes where you are asked to pay a fee and sign up new members. Such schemes offer rich rewards once you have recruited enough members. These schemes are always illegal; people have lost thousands waiting for the promised payout.
  • Lotteries, sweepstakes and competitions that promise you have won something but you must send an "administration" fee first. These scammers make their money from the fees people send. Beware of mobile phone calls like this, as ringing the number they ask you to will cost a fortune on your next bill.
  • Unwanted SMS (text) services on your mobile phone. Check all terms and conditions carefully you should not be charged for a text service unless you have agreed to it. Text STOP to the number and the service should cease.
  • Foreign money scams and advance fee scams offer you a large sum of money to do something apparently minor like send off a small fee. They may claim that they are trying to get money out of their country, that you have been left money in a foreign will or that you have been awarded a large loan at favourable rates. You will never see the money you send off again.
  • Work from home opportunities advertise paid work from home with exaggerated claims about how much you can make. They will ask for money up front to buy supplies or to reveal the "secret". Never reply to any such advert that asks for money up front.
  • Online dating offering a dream partner from overseas. A conversation may start up with the dream partner. Eventually they will start to ask you for money for such things as their education, their poor family or to pay for a flight to come and visit you.
  • Golden investment opportunities will offer the opportunity to put your money into a sure fire scheme to make money by investing in such things as shares, wine, gemstones and other rare items. The items they offer will be expensive, very high risk and difficult to sell.
  • Miracle health cures that promise instant cures from such things and hair loss, arthritis, weight gain etc.

What you can do

Be vigilant for anything that offers a get rich quick deal, intimidates you, asks you to part with money up front, or asks for your personal details. Remember that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Consider registering your details, or those of anyone you care for, with the Mailing Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service to reduce unwanted mail and telesales calls. Removing your telephone number from the directory (becoming ex directory) may also help.

Report scam emails and phishing attempts to your Internet Service Provider and consider installing anti-spam software on your computer.

Reporting a scam

If you or someone you know has become a victim of a scam, you will need to report it to Citizens Advice Consumer Services who will then refer any cases to us that require further investigation. You can also report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk 

 

Dyfed Powys Community Messaging (DPCM) is a free community messaging system for the Dyfed-Powys area that allows you to register to receive the latest crime notifications and community news happening in your local neighbourhood.

This system transmits messages to the public, businesses and other groups who have registered with the scheme.

The details of any crimes, suspicious incidents and scams will be fed into the system to create a message which will then be delivered to the most appropriate recipients using the method they have chosen. The Dyfed Powys Community Messaging System cannot be used to report crime. All crime must be reported in the normal way using either the non-emergency 101 number, or in an emergency 999.

Sign up to DPCM here 

The most common tactics used by rogue traders committing doorstep crime include: -

  •  Knocking on your door and saying they have noticed a problem with your home that they can fix
  • Saying they have leftover materials from another job that they can use at your home, such as Tarmac for a drive
  • Hard selling - overstaying their welcome in your home or at your door until you agree to them doing the work. Not all cold callers are rogue traders, but agreeing to have work done on your home by someone who knocks on your door could make you a victim of doorstep crime

Rogue traders may: -

  •  Charge unreasonable prices
  • Take deposits and not return to do the work
  • Do a poor job
  • Not give you information on your right to cancel work if you change your mind
  • Take consumers to banks or building societies to withdraw money to pay for work
  • Refuse to sort out problems
  • Offer no guarantees or warranties

What to do if approached by doorstep traders

Not all traders are dishonest, but there are things you should do to make sure you don't become a victim of rogue traders: -

  • Check their identification and use the spyhole or door chain if you have one
  • Never sign a contract until you have shopped around first
  • Ask for more time to consider the offer and to get a second quotation. A genuine seller will understand this and not try to pressurise you into signing that day
  • Get advice from family, friends or neighbours before agreeing to have any work done
  • If you have any suspicions or concerns, ask the trader to leave, close the door and call the police or contact trading standards
  • Do not allow any callers or workmen to take you to the bank, building society or Post Office

If you do sign a contract following a 'cold call' from a company (this includes a telephone call from the business asking for an appointment to visit you), and the goods or services you buy cost more than £35, then you usually have seven days to change your mind and cancel the contract.Report a doorstep crime or rogue trader

If someone has called at your home uninvited and carried out work that you are unhappy or worried about, or if you want to report an incident on behalf of a friend, neighbour or relative, report it to us.

Find a reputable tradesman

Need some work doing on your home or garden? Looking for a tradesman you can trust?

To find a reputable tradesman, check out the Trustmark website.

No cold calling zones

‘No cold calling zones’ aim to decrease doorstep crime incidents by specifying a zone in which doorstep callers are not welcome.

Zones need to have three criteria before they can be set up:

  • A history of doorstep crime or distraction burglary
  • A vulnerable population
  • A defined geographical area 

 

 

 

 

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