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Don’t be alarmed!
Friday 13th February, 2009

Wigan’s consumer watchdogs are today warning residents to be on their guard against high-pressure sales teams currently doing the rounds in the borough.

They are offering expensive burglar alarm systems and other items such as cavity wall and loft insulation. But the problem is they don’t take no for an answer.

Wigan Council’s Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst explains: “We’ve had complaints from Hindley and other parts of the borough about these high-pressure sales teams.

“It starts with a phone call out of the blue and this is followed up by one of the sales team, who just happened to be in the area, knocking on your door.

“Once inside the salesperson can be quite persistent to say the least. We have one complaint from a pensioner who had one of these people in their front room for hours. They only left when the contract was signed.”

Juile adds: “We are committed to rooting out and pursuing any individual or company who target people via such methods, but particularly those whose focus is on the more vulnerable members of our communities.”

The advice from Julie and the team is to give them a polite but firm ‘no’ if you’re not interested in what they have to offer, but even if you do sign on the line, all is not lost.

“People now have the legal right to cancel any contract within seven working days of signing it, whether they asked for the salesperson to call or not. This rule was introduced specifically to help people who fall foul of these hard-sell tactics. It applies whether you signed at home, at someone else’s home or at work.”

Although you may be liable for any reasonable cost incurred by the seller during the cancellation period, such as goods or services being provided to meet an emergency.

Julie says: “I would urge everyone to be very wary when buying anything based on a ‘cold call’. If you want to buy something always find out the facts yourself and get at least three quotes or prices from different sellers.”

If you are unsure, would like more advice or have been contacted by one of these companies and would like to report it, please call the Trading Standards’ Consumer Direct helpline on 08454 04 05 06 (calls charged at local rate).

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