At least 169,000 cases of doorstep crime are now estimated to take place in England and Wales per year, according to new research released for National Consumer Week.
The research for the Trading Standards Institute, National Trading Standards and Citizens Advice, has shown how exposed some of our more vulnerable citizens could be.
Almost half of British adults (46%) don’t think their neighbourhood looks out for its vulnerable residents well enough, and two in five (39%) know someone who is at particular risk, who would struggle to spot a doorstep criminal or handle them assertively.
Doorstep sellers must adhere to certain practices when coming to your front door.
Know your rights: Complaining about doorstep selling practices – learn how to report a rogue trader
Doorstep crime involves criminals preying on vulnerable people by cold-calling at their homes and pressurising them into paying extortionate prices for unnecessary goods or services.
For contracts signed after 13 June 2014, your cancellation rights for doorstep sales have been extended under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
You can now write to the company within 14 calendar days of signing the contract, saying you want to cancel.
Know your rights: New doorstep selling rules – find out if you’ve been a victim of mis-selling
Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders campaign
It can be difficult to confront doorstep criminals, and the figures from Trading Standards reveal that 40% of us would be reluctant to speak to a vulnerable neighbour if we were concerned about work that had started on their home, for fear of being seen as nosey or interfering.
The Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders campaign, launched today, reveals some signs that an unwanted doorstep seller may be visiting a neighbour.
These include poor quality work visible on the roof, driveway or property or if your neighbour leaves their home more frequently to visit the bank accompanied by a trader.
To report a suspected doorstep criminal, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03456 04 05 06.
National Consumer Week
National Consumer Week has been running since 1989 and has covered subjects including second hand car buying, car boot sales and quality of goods.
This year’s National Consumer Week focuses on tackling doorstep crime.