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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cold Callers

The majority of householders are approached at some point by people trying to sell goods and services at the door or over the phone.  They can be trying to sell a variety of items or services and will have various sales techniques for doing so.
We are often asked in retrospect whether the person who was at a householder’s door was genuine.  Understandably, this can be difficult to ascertain as generally by the time we are asked the question the individual has left and people often have very minimal or no specific details about the caller, their company etc.  It is fair to say that there are many genuine companies who try and sell in this manner as well as people who are more unscrupulous.  Doorstep and telephone selling is also problematic as it often relies on people being pressured or persuaded into making snap decisions about things as they are confronted by someone at their door or on the phone there and then.  It is due to the above factors that we always advise that people never buy goods and services from the door or via the telephone
Please bear in mind the below advice when dealing with cold callers:
Ø        Remember it is Your House and these Individuals are Calling Uninvited!  You are under no obligation to speak to anyone who cold calls at your property.  If residents are concerned about opening the door to cold callers or people they do not recognise at the door then they do not need to do so.
Ø        Never Be Pressurised - Many cold callers are persuasive and may try to pressure sell items or to arrange appointments to attend at your address at a later date.  Remember this is a service you probably don't need (or you would have looked yourself) and if things look too good to be true then they usually are.  Companies will often try to make an appointment to attend at a later date.  By making an appointment you are in essence inviting the company into your home and this can raise further difficulties in terms of invalidating cooling off periods etc - always say no!
Ø        Don’t Be Taken in by Appearance – A person’s appearance such as gender, age, dress, mannerisms etc can often influence our initial reactions to a person.  Remember, just because someone is well presented doesn’t mean that they are genuine or trustworthy. 
Ø        Be Careful of Sob Stories – Some people who call at your door may try and push their goods and services by telling a home owner some kind of story to pull at their heart strings or think that the person deserves a break.  Common stories include individuals claiming to be ex-offenders working with the probation service to try and make good and turn their lives around and people with a sign claiming to have a disability or not speak English.  I can confirm that the probation service do not sanction individuals to try and sell items door to door, regardless of whether they flash an ID card or appear to be organised.
Ø        Research Your Own Companies - When You Need Them!  Don't fall foul of impulse buying over the door or phone.  When you require work carrying out on your property find your own company to complete the work.  Take recommendations from friends and family, get several quotes from different companies and choose a company that is registered with a trade organisation.
Ø        Take you Time – If anyone is contacted by what they believe to be a genuine company with an offer that can’t be refused, take your time.  This is particularly pertinent with telephone sales.  Don’t be pressured into signing up to anything on the spot along the lines of ‘if you want this you must agree now’.  Ask that the information to be sent in writing and tell them that you will get back in touch if you decide to pursue the offer.  This gives you time to step back and consider all your options, check any small print and discuss with family members.
Ø        Report Suspected Incidents Straight Away.  If you believe you or a family member has been a victim of rogue traders or are unhappy in any way please contact the police immediately via 101 or Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06

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