Trading Standards warns of cold call scam for home alarm systems

Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service is warning local pensioners over a spate of recent cold calling incidents in the county by a firm misleading residents into believing they are buying a bargain priced burglar and fire alarm system.

The scam starts with a cold call on the telephone falsely offering the customer an all-singing-all-dancing alarm system for £299, alleging a massive discount from a bogus starting price of £1500. The householder accepts an appointment with a salesman who then gives the hard sell on the security system which eventually has a price tag of £3600.The scam is that they price the alarm at £299 but add on an extortionate £3300 for a 5 year monitoring contract whereby if your alarm goes off a call centre will ring you to see if you’re ok and call the emergency services if necessary. An important part of the scam is the salesman coerces the customer into signing away their legal 7 day cancellation rights and the alarm is installed the very next day so that there is little time for the victim to discuss it with family or neighbours or have time to cancel the contract.Mike Pigrem, head of trading standards and licensing commented “Very few cold callers are genuine honest businesses and our advice is clear- never deal with any cold callers on the telephone or at the door. Virtually all rogue trading operates this way. This scam is targeted at older and vulnerable people whereby they scare them into believing the alarm system is a necessity, when it is not.

Our officers have intervened where possible and managed to cancel a number of contracts saving vulnerable consumers a substantial amount of money. There will be those out there who have fallen victim to this company and they should contact Trading Standards immediately on 01432 261761. Free advice on security can be obtained from your local Safer Neighbourhood Team. We recommend that anyone who considers they need a security system should choose a firm from the Council’s Trader Register at www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire

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