Check out the trusted traders

I don’t suppose I’m alone in frequently getting annoyed by scam phone calls and doorstep traders, but though I happily give them short shrift, I am also very concerned about the nature of some of those calls when they raise the suggestion that someone has been studying the apparent deficiencies of my premises and are using the call to attempt to plug the gap.

Double glazing firms are the most obvious; even on fairly new estates they can find something missing – a porch or a conservatory perhaps (the last one even informed me I needed a new front door, when all it needs is a coat of varnish to obliterate a few cat scratches!).

Now it’s a cunning offer of a free security system because someone appears to have failed to discover evidence of a burglar alarm. I’ve also been informed that we have not applied for a grant for loft insulation!

How do they know that?

What concerns me most is how many people are taken in by these genuine sounding scams? Those with access to caller display will find that all the numbers are international and not available. That should immediately raise suspicion. Unfortunately, recently, not even the voices give it away as they suddenly all sound English. I’m supposed to be on the telephone preference, but without pursuing the call, no doubt at great expense, there’s no way I can report the activity. One double glazing firm rings me without fail every year – I get a name but nothing else.

The last one to call, a well-known company, supposedly reputable but very pushy (and I understand expensive) was informed that if and when I did want a new front door I would shop local and find a trusted trader! And that is the point I want to stress.

I am not in the pay of Trading Standards, but I would urge people to phone Derbyshire 0845 605 8058 or 533190, and check our a trusted trader in their area for whatever job needs doing.

You don’t need to be over 60, incapacitated or on benefits to use the system - it’s available to everyone, set up in an attempt to dissuade people from giving in to rogue traders. Having successfully sought tradesmen through this means I wouldn’t now employ anyone in the house who wasn’t on the list.

Sadly, it seems that despite all the warnings, all the literature, all the television programmes, people are still being taken in, and clearly the only way to put all these rogues out of business is to become aware of the alternatives available and use them.

Don’t however, use the ploy I tried just once of not answering the phone if you’ve any friends or family overseas at the time who may be stuck at an airport in dire need of some financial assistance! I’d sooner field a dozen calls than risk that happening again.

Patricia Batstone