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Archived News - Trading Standards

Top Roof Coating & First Choice Property Maintenance

This article was published in June 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Trading Standards is warning residents to be aware that the Top Roof Coating and First Choice Property Maintenance have been cold-calling at homes recently.

Chris Holden from Buckinghamshire Trading Standards states that "The companies have both attempted to deceive consumers into believing that they need urgent or unnecessary work carried out on their roofs and failed to provide written cancellation rights, as required by law.  Subsequent inspection of the work has also found it to have been unnecessary and very over-priced."

If you are approached by anybody purporting to be from either of these companies, or indeed any company making similar claims, you are advised to decline any offers of work until you have had the opportunity to seek a second opinion. Trading Standards would be grateful if any such approach is reported to them, or if you have had work done by either company and have concerns, call them on: 08454 04 05 06.

Source: Thames Valley Police bulletin

Suspicous Telephone Calls

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterA number of Ringmaster members have reported to us that they are receiving telephone calls from Security Companies claiming to be working with, or for the Police.

Some Residents have been told that the Chief Constable is specifically involved in these projects.

Other callers have claimed that they are selling products that raise money for the Police or Police Charities.

Bedfordshire Police do not employ any private companies to undertake security checks on peoples homes.

If you have genuine concerns about the security of your home and property, please contact your Local Policing Team, or a Crime Reduction Officer, by call 01234 841212.

Bedfordshire police offers the following advice. Never buy goods or services, as a result of a cold call from a company, over the phone.

If you are interested in a product ask for a number that you call back, when you have had time to think about the offer.

Never disclose personal details over the phone, like bank account numbers, maiden names, or dates of birth. Do not discuss times and days that your home will be empty.

Cold Calling can be reported to Trading Standards on (08454) 04 05 06.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Advice from Trading Standards

This article was published in July 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBuckinghamshire Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard against a company called DIRECT RESPONSE SECURITY attempting to sell "free monitored alarm systems".

Salespersons normally cold-call by telephone and advise residents that they have been selected to receive a "free monitored alarm system" and that a representative is in the area and will call on them to discuss the matter further.

The representatives calling at people's homes then make a number of false/misleading claims that there is a problem with crime in the area and convince residents to get a burglar alarm fitted. Once the alarm is installed, the residents are left with a large bill for future monitoring services they have been tricked into signing up to.

Trading standards across the country are reporting complaints of companies scaring consumers into accepting a free burglar alarm which then ties the victim to a contract costing thousands of pounds.

The Trading Standards Institute is urging consumers to say no to companies offering these free appliances, claiming they are working with the police or as part of a Government scheme, or that they are researching for a fire and security alarm system company.

The salesman will typically cold call, keen to make a home visit the same day to discuss the installation of a free or cheap alarm. The companies are reported to use high pressure tactics and to scaremonger about rising crime levels in the area, while some are reported to make misleading claims about the alarms being directly linked to the police or the availability of a hotline to police patrol cars.

What they fail to mention are the fees that residents will have to pay for the monitoring, upkeep and rapid response facilities, which can add up to thousands of pounds.

Some have found themselves tied to a six-year contract agreement costing up to £6,000.

Consumers who sign on the dotted line will have a seven day cooling off period during which they can change their minds.

Trading Standards are urging residents, especially pensioners and their families, to be on their guard and not to buy anything based on a cold-call. If you think you have been a victim of this or a similar scam and would like advice on your rights please call Consumer Direct on 0808 156 2259.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Overpaid bank / credit charges scam

This article was published in February 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A local resident has reported receiving a telephone call from an Asian sounding male, claiming that the resident was owed £2165 in overpaid bank / credit charges. They told the resident to attend their local Post Office in order that a money order could be sent for £125 administration fee.

The resident was asked to phone a telephone number whilst at the Post Office and details of where the admin fee was to be paid would be given.

The male stated that as soon as the fee was paid the Post Office would be able to pay the £2165 immediately (and if they couldn't then the caller would personally drive to the residents address and drop off a cheque or deposit the money in their bank account).

Please be on your guard and ensure that any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours know how to deal with any unwanted / unsolicited phone calls. Never divulge personal information / bank details to anyone on the phone and do not make immediate money transfers to unknown companies.

Further information about scams and consumer information can be obtained from Consumer Direct at or by calling them on 08454 040506

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Postal Scam Warning

This article was published in December 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThere have been reports nationally of tricksters placing cards through doors suggesting they were unable to deliver parcels and asking householders to contact a telephone number.

However, unknown to householders, they were being asked to make a premium rate call in a scam believed to originate in Belize.

Crime Reduction Officer Lara Curtayne said: "Any card put through a door should be queried if it is asking the householder to ring a number. The vast majority of legitimate delivery companies leave a card saying they will deliver again, or put a collection address."

Anyone with doubts about a delivery company should contact their local Trading Standards Department.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Home Watch - Bogus Caller Letter Update

This article was published in November 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Please also take some time to visit the Police fraud web site where you will find details of all the internet scams


Trading Standards &
Registration Services
Bedfordshire County Council
County Hall
Cauldwell Street
MK42 9AP

October 2006


To: All Neighbourhood / Home Watch Co-ordinators



As a neighbourhood/home watch co-ordinator, you will be aware of the growing concerns of the incidents involving 'doorstep crime'. This usually involves strangers turning up on residents doorsteps, uninvited and without appointments. Their aims are usually to part residents from either their property or money.

In Bedfordshire we are introducing 'No Cold Calling Zones' (NCCZ’s) throughout the County. The work is being carried out by the nominated multi agency bogus caller taskforce - of which the neighbourhood/home watch residents are key participants. They can provide important information on bogus callers and rogue traders and pass this onto the rapid response team who can provide instant response.

The purpose of creating NCCZ's is to reduce the number of bogus callers, thus reducing the number of distraction burglaries and the number of rogue traders - and the zones are working. We currently have in excess of 85 zones up and running. In the last 12 months throughout Bedfordshire, distraction burglaries have reduced by 27% and domestic burglaries by 21%.

We need your help to make the whole of Bedfordshire a 'No Cold Calling County'. Booklets and door stickers are available free of charge for every resident. If you would like a supply of these to distribute within your watch area, contact us on 01234 228897.

Remember - If They Call On You, Call Us!


Angela Williamson
Trading Standards Enforcement Officer
Bedfordshire County Council


Bogus Calling Hotline
O8454 04 05 06

Source: Bedfordshire County Council, County Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, Beds, MK42 9AP tel 01234 363222