The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

Trading Standards

We had a very interesting talk on the 13th November from Jane Gulliver from the Trading Standards.

The first thing Jane told us about was the “doorstep crimes” and “scams”. The “rogue traders” generally knock on the elderly people’s doors and say something like “Did you know that your loose tiles on your roof are in a very bad way, and I could fix them for you?” or they might say “Your chimney needs repointing” or there is the so called “Tarmacers” who will tarmac your drive for a very costly price and not very well done.

Unfortunately the older generation of 80 plus are very trusting and believe everything that is told to them. If a trader says to the elderly person that he can do the work for them for a certain amount of money, the elderly person will say “Oh I don't have that amount of money in the house”. Then the answer to that will be “Oh, not to worry, I can easily take you to the Bank, it’s not far away”. Then the elderly person will feel that he or she has to go to the Bank to get the money out and to pay them for their work. He or she may not be very good at actually putting their number in to obtain the cash and might need help with this, and may even ask them to put the number in for them, and thus that is how they can obtain the bank details etc. of this person.

Jane told us also that the door stickers do not actually stop people from knocking on the door trying to sell you goods or services, because it’s not illegal for them to do this, but if you do have a sticker in your window or on your front door, you can always say to them “Have you not seen this?” pointing it out to them, or you could say “Can you not read!”

The answer that does come back is “I thought that it was left by the previous owners, and you had not got around to removing it yet.”

If you have a chain, then you must remember to put it across when answering the door, it becomes quite difficult to have a conversation when there is a small gap to talk through, in the end the caller will generally get fed up and walk away.

Jane told us a story of an elderly lady who let in a double glazing person whilst her daughter was out at the shops. This trader stayed in the lady’s home for 5 hours and kept repeating to her that she “had to sign the contract today”. The poor lady felt very intimidated, and in the end did sign the contract only to get rid of the trader, when her daughter returned, she was very cross with her Mother, but also felt that she had been in a vulnerable position and it was very wrong of the trader to prey specifically on the elderly lady.

Then there is the electricity or gas salesmen who try to get you to change your tariff on the doorstep. He might ask you how much was your last bill? Do not go back in to the house to try and find it, leaving him at the door with it ajar, as when you return, he may have stepped into your porch.

The nuisance telephone calls are sometimes recorded messages or sometimes there is no message at all. Never give your Bank details over the phone, even if the other person at the end of the phone sounds very plausible and convincing.

We all get lots of junk mail these days, and they do look very good in their plastic bags. Some of these are from mail order catalogues like “Damart” who has a Honda car for you to win or 50,000. Some competitions ask you to send money before you receive a prize, please do not send any money, as you will never receive anything in return.

If you do happen to order something from a catalogue, then your details are sold on to other firms, which amounts to more junk mail and they will all want you to send them money. Other scams are face creams or eye creams, wrinkle creams or flat tummy creams. These are generally from foreign firms, and will be saying something like “50% off, buy now”! The chances are once you have sent them some money, you will not get anything in return. The best thing to do is buy from a shop or supermarket, there you can see what you are getting and may even be cheaper in the long run.

Charities are really “begging on the door”. Do not feel you have to give to everyone. If you support one, then others may get in contact urging support of them too.

To reduce the amount of personally addressed junk mail coming through your door, you can register with The Telephone Preference Service. Telephone 0845 070 0707. It may take a few weeks to reduce the number of the phone calls, but this system will not stop calls from overseas.

To remove your details from most mailing lists, give your full name and address to The Mailing Preference Service (no stamp required) or Telephone 0845 703 4599. You have to allow a few months before you see a reduction in the mail you receive.

Priscilla Barlow.

Winter and Lent Edition 2015

St George’s Ladies Group