Much more than just a recommendation...

Rogue Traders

Rogue Traders and Doorstep Crime

Each year, Trading Standards receive thousands of complaints about uninvited traders and a large majority of these relate to home maintenance work such as roofing, tarmacing and paving, garden and tree surgery, insulation, general building work, burglar alarms and other services.

Doorstep cold-calling is not illegal, however Trading Standards advice is to NEVER employ traders who call at your door.

The work or service offered can sometimes be unnecessary, overpriced, of a poor standard or not done at all. Typically they have no formal training to carry out the work offered and some may have links with distraction burglars.

Common reports include:

  • Taking a deposit and never returning to do the work
  • Quoting a price and then increasing the cost as the job progresses
  • No statutory cancellation notices (cooling off period - see below), guarantees or warranties provided
  • Produce poor quality work and refuse to sort out problems or finish the work

Avoiding Rogue Traders Advice:

  • Be cautious; if a trader knocks at your door, do not agree to on the spot house repairs without taking advice. Say 'no thank you' and close the door.
  • Be wary of special offers. They will use tactics such as 'I am only in your area today and would need to do the work now'.
  • Do not believe when told that guttering, roofing, gardening or paving work is in need of urgent repair – this may cause you to panic and allow the work to take place.
  • Don't allow anyone to pressure you into agreeing to have work carried out. If you ask them to leave and they don't, they are committing a criminal offence - contact the police on 999.
  • Do not make snap decisions. If you feel that any work needs carrying out on your property, take time to talk to family or neighbours before you make a decision.
  • Don't ever go to a bank or cash point with a trader; legitimate traders would never do this!

It is important that people have the confidence to say no to doorstep traders and take the time to think about the service being offered.

Download a copy of Cambs Police's 'Not all callers are genuine' advice booklet:

Avoiding Rogue Traders Advice



Watch Age UK's Protect Yourself from Doorstep Scams video HERE


Carry out checks

Rogue traders do not just cold-call at your door; they can have professional websites and place adverts in newspapers, magazines and other publications. They also operate leaflet dropping so be aware that not all leaflets are genuine.

If you are unable to find a trader on, here is some guidance on checks that you can carry out:

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations
  • Carry out internet research including a check for any negative reviews
  • Get at least three 'written' quotes for the work required, to include timescales, materials and clearing up (disposal of any waste)
  • Ask to see a copy of their Public Liability Insurance
  • Check what guarantees and warranties are offered and get them in writing
  • Ask for references from previous customers
  • Do not deal with anyone who refuses to take payment via cheque or bank transfer
  • Get written receipts for any money paid

Your legal rights

14 day cooling off period
If you agree to buy something worth over £42 from a salesperson calling at your home, you have 14 days to cancel if you change your mind.

Paying by cash or credit
The 14 day cooling off period applies when you buy using cash or credit. If you buy through a credit sale or hire purchase agreement, you have the right to withdraw from the finance agreement within 14 days, without giving any reason. 

Reporting a Rogue Trader

Only about 15% of victims report rogue trading incidents (through fear or because they feel ashamed). Although Trading Standards works closely with the police to stop rogue traders, many of the reports received from the public come too late for the traders to be found and/or to recover the money paid to them.

Trading Standards urge consumers to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service in relation to any suspected rogue trader incidents or suspicious activities.

For live incidents where the rogue trader is still at the property, or is due to return, contact the police on 999. The police have a protocol for dealing with these incidents and welcome your contact.


More about Safe Local Trades

Safe Local Trades 0800 014 1832 Allia Future Business Centre, Peterborough United Football Club, Peterborough, Cambs, PE2 8AN