Warning over the doorstep conmen

Julie Middlehurst
Julie Middlehurst

HOMEOWNERS have been put on their guard against doorstep rip-off merchants after an upsurge in Wigan builder scams.

Police and trading standards experts say there have been increased reports of local people being charged extortionate amounts of money for shoddy or non-existent work.

And today they urged residents to “dob the builder” if they think they are being taken for a a ride.

Julie Middlehurst (pictured right) from Wigan Council’s Trading Standards, said: “If you get that knock on the door, we want you to pick up the phone and dob them in.

“Typically, these opportunistic ‘sham builders’ claim that they ‘just happen to be in the area’ and because they’re not from a registered business or a reputable local firm, they can simply disappear with your cash.

”It leaves you with both a hole in your pocket and sub-standard work.”

The types of jobs these conmen prefer typically include power-washing, any type of roof work, paving and surfacing and garden maintenance.

Ms Middlehurst added: “Wigan Council runs a Good Trader Scheme, which lists honest and reliable local traders and businesses.

“They are rated by customers who award them up to five gold stars based on service and customer satisfaction.

“This scheme gives us a way of combating doorstep crime by marginalising rogue traders and helps to raise confidence in local businesses.”

For more information about the Good Trader Scheme or to apply to become a member, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/goodtrader or call (01942) 827476.

Anyone suspecting there are “rogue builders” in the area or wanting consumer advice is urged to contact Consumer Direct on (08454) 040506.