Complaints on dodgy doorstep sales hit record highNew advice issued to protect the over-70s
13 November 2012
A record 35,000 complaints have been made to consumer helplines this year about doorstep salespeople.
The complaints were made about salespeople who were invited into people's homes, either as a result of a cold call or following an appointment.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT ) has now launched a campaign urging consumers not to feel obliged to buy products or services just because they invite a doorstep trader into their home.
The campaign, which coincides with National Consumer Week, is reminding people that high-pressure sales tactics are often illegal.
Read our guide on what you need to know about doorstep selling.
Doorstep sellers targeting older people
The OFT campaign is primarily aimed at those aged over 70, particularly women living alone who are housebound or socially isolated.
The campaign is focusing on doorstep traders selling mobility aids and energy-efficiency services after OFT reviews found concerns about some of the sales practices employed in these sectors.
Advice materials are available on the OFT website and are being distributed by Age UK, Neighbourhood Watch and the Direct Selling Association.
How to report concerns about salespeople
Concerns about a salesperson or business offering goods or services on the doorstep can be reported to Citizens Advice on 08454 040506.
OFT Head of Campaigns Judith Frame said: 'Nobody needs to sign up or agree to a purchase on the spot if they do not want to, whether on the doorstep or in your home. Everyone usually has a cooling-off period of seven days to change their mind or cancel.
'Anyone who arranges a visit by a doorstep salesperson should consider asking someone they trust to sit with them during the appointment.'