Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

OFT warns of cowboy traders

Published: 15 October 2010
As preparations for winter begin the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Age UK are warning people to be wary of rogue doorstep traders offering home improvement services.
OFT warns of cowboy traders
Last year, advice service Consumer Direct received more than 5,300 complaints about traders offering home maintenance work on the doorstep - a 16% rise from the previous year.

While canvassing on the doorstep is not illegal, and stresses the OFT, there are many legitimate businesses selling to people in the home, rogue doorstep trading is an ongoing problem in the UK.

The OFT's Michelle Shambrook said: "If it sounds too good t be true, then it probably is. Work or service carried out by these traders is sometimes unnecessary, of a poor standard, much more expensive than originally quoted or not done at all."

The campaign follows news of cowboy locksmith Mark Makowski, who was sentenced to four years in prison in August after being convicted of 15 counts of fraud relating to 11 out of 88 complaints.

Mr Makowski was found guilty of overcharging customers by hundreds of pounds, as well as causing unnecessary damage by drilling out locks and fitting cheap replacement locks. He was also investigated by the BBC's Rogue Traders programme.

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