Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Foot in the door

I have just learned something interesting and it concerns the scourge of cold calling. Like most areas, we get a lot of people making a nuisance of themselves by knocking on our door, trying to sell us something; this can range from the usual utility company to charity muggers and roving bands of religionists who want to talk to me about God.

I am fortunate in that I live in a flat where the block is protected by a security door, visitors have to be buzzed in and that means I can screen out most of them before they actually get to my front door. Unfortunately, some residents are not so discriminating and let anyone in; some cold callers even hang around the entrance and wait for a resident to open the door and then follow them in.

This is how I found myself answering the door recently to one young individual who tried to persuade me to let his company install draft proofing, claiming that I could claim back the money as "we're from the gumment, innit".

What I didn't know is that those signs that people put up saying 'no cold callers' may actually have genuine legal clout. According to a BBC website article, it seems that anyone ignoring the sign could be in breach of the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This hasn't been tested in court but a QC's advice is that it is a criminal offence.

What I also didn't know is that you can get your council to set up a 'Cold Calling Controlled Zone'. This would cover a specific designated area and is especially useful if your community has a particular problem with rogue traders. These people would then be self selecting as by calling on you, they are already breaking the law so why would you trust them with anything else.

You can get advice on this and other forms of sales abuse here. They even provide a free poster for you to print off. You could even cut off the commercial for http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ on the bottom of the poster but that would be a bit churlish.

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