Cold Callers Jet Washing Drives

We are aware that there are currently traders cold-calling in the Solihull area offering to jet wash drives. Trading Standards would like to warn about such traders: they will typically overcharge for such work. If they can, they will also do more work than asked and charge around four times the original price (or as much as they can get away with).

Trading Standards recommends that residents do not employ cold callers offering such maintenance work. If you would like building or maintenance work carried out, we recommend you contact No Rogue Traders Here on 0800 233 5000 or visit http://www.noroguetradershere.com.

Cold calling traders can deliberately target elderly or vulnerable residents. If you have a relative or neighbour who you think could benefit from our advice, please pass on this message.

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Pink and fluffy things aren’t always that cuddly….

pink

2,000 deceptively cute teddy bears have been seized by Kent Trading Standards. The eyes and nose of the bears were very badly attached and sharp points protruded from their scarves.

See the article here:

https://kccmediahub.net/cute-and-cuddly-but-potentially-deadly745

The seizure is part of an ongoing collaboration between trading standards and UK Border Force to help identify illegal products entering the country. Solihull Trading Standards regularly work closely with Border Force at Birmingham Airport to disrupt the traffic of unsafe and duty evaded products.

Birmingham father and son rogue traders jailed

roofers

Acocks Green father and son Robert Bennett and Ronald Reeves have been jailed for over 8 years and 5 years respectively for repeatedly conning elderly and vulnerable victims around Birmingham.

One of the pair’s victims was an elderly lady who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Richard Denson QC, sentencing, said, ‘In short, you groomed her so that you could haemorrhage her three bank accounts, dishonestly removing £52,000 over a period of several months.’ He went on to say, ‘In evidence you have both lied and neither of you have shown any remorse.’

See the full article here:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/crooked-father-son-roofers-swindled-9506551

If you suspect rogue trader activity is taking place in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Cross Border Problems? – Who can help?

EEC

The UK European Consumer Centre (ECC) provides free and impartial advice when problems arise in shopping in other European countries.

The EEC can get involved when a consumer has exhausted all options to resolve the matter themselves.

The most common consumer topics they handle are online shopping, air travel and baggage, holidays, banking in Europe, Timeshare and Holiday Clubs, Car Rental, and Scams.

Consumers can make contact with the UK ECC via the website (www.ukecc.net), by email (ecc@tsi.org.uk) or by phone on 01268 886690 weekdays between 10am and 3pm (closed bank and public holidays).

For more information on all of the services of the EEC click here

Just Registered a New Businesses? Watch Out

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is alerting people to a new scam where businesses are contacted soon after registering with Companies House to pay a “fee”.

The letter from Register of Companies and Businesses purports to be linked to Companies House claiming the recipient is required to “confirm their registration”.

The Company request a fee of £190 to register and publicise the new company information. Their website states that the fee is for entry into the register which operates in UK – giving you the opportunity to use the websites services.

The letter being delivered states “lack of payment will result in lack of your company`s entry in regist.co.uk”. The implication is that this is required as part of the Companies Registration, when that is not the case.

How to protect yourself:

  • Never respond to any such communication;
  • Any unsolicited contact followed by a request for an advance payment/fee is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you. Do not pay.
  • Never disclose your bank details.

If you have fallen victim to this scam please contact Action Fraud to make a report by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by using the online reporting tool.

Thinking of cancelling your gym membership?

gym

We get a lot of people contacting us regarding terminating gym memberships. Some of the reasons may be poor health, relocating, redundancy or ‘was a good idea at the time’ type of reason.

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to end your membership the main point to remember is that initially you will have signed a contract-which is a legally binding document. The contract is essentially a credit agreement and if you decide to just cancel the direct debit the fitness company would be well within its rights to take you to court for all of the outstanding money on the contract and this could ultimately affect your credit rating. The contract will contain the companies terms and conditions and when and how you can cancel. If you have misplaced yours then contact the gym who should be able supply you with a blank one.

You are usually tied into a minimum contract and if you want to exit before this time is up a cancellation charge would be levied- similar to mobile phone contracts- and you may be required to pay the full amount of the outstanding months.

The Office of Fair Trading has cracked down on unfair contract conditions, known as unfair contract terms. However, some independent or smaller gyms may still be including them in their agreements.

If you think that terms in your gym contract are unfair you may be able to cancel without penalty. Terms could be unfair if your contract

▪ is automatically renewed without your permissions,

▪ it sets out a minimum contract of more than 12 months,

▪ the terms are unclear or not in plain English

▪ it states your cancellation is not valid until you receive a confirmation letter from them,

 

have you had an accident on holiday?

 

accident

What do you do if you have an accident whilst on a package holiday?

If you have an accident abroad and your holiday was booked as part of a package deal your tour operator is bound by ‘The Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tour Regulation, 1992’

This ensures that your tour operator assumes responsibility for ensuring that your holiday is provided at a reasonable standard and makes sure that its suppliers also perform their duties accordingly.

So as an example, if you are ill due to food poisoning contracted at your hotel or you suffer an accident that results in personal injury through no fault of your own then the tour company operator is responsible.

If you take part in ‘dangerous activities’ such as bungee jumping or paragliding then any injuries caused by this may not be covered.

In order to claim from the company the accident must happen at the hotel complex itself or on an excursion that was provided as part of a package. If the accident happened when you tripped on a broken pavement whilst in the town shopping, for example, then this would not be covered.

You need to prove that the organiser or representatives were negligent for example you were not told of possible risks or the accommodation was so badly maintained that it caused injury.

Any accident should be reported as soon as possible to the rep on holiday or the hotel or to the organisers office in the UK. If it is reported it should be entered in an accident book.

Hopefully an accident will not happen but if you want to get further information to explain the legal obligations and to get more information have a look at this link on the consumer advice site

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/travel-leisure-and-food/holidays/accidents-illness-and-emergencies-on-holiday/

 

 

 

 

Is your holiday protected if a company goes bust??

 

holiday

The summer is here (it is I am told!)  and your well earned holiday has been booked and all that’s left is for the suitcases to be packed and the papers to be cancelled.

If the worst thing happens and your tour organiser or airline has gone bump then are you covered? Do you know your rights?

As usual it all depends on what you have booked and how you booked it but the best advice is DO NOT PANIC which is easier said than done when its your two weeks in the sun that is affected and all your plans have been made.

There are different ways you may be covered but this depends on whether it’s the airline itself that has gone bust, the package organiser, the holiday rental company or the travel agent.

As an example.

Let’s say your package holiday company goes bust. If flights are included in the holiday then the company will be covered by the Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL). Under this scheme you can be offered a number of alternatives. If the holiday has not started a refund can be given or an alternative holiday offered. If you are already on holiday then arrangements will be made to ensure that your holiday continues and you are not stranded abroad.

If flights are not included you are still protected as under the package travel regulations they must refund money paid and cover the cost of return if you are already on holiday.

 

There are many other options depending on who exactly goes bust and for a full run down please view the link at the citizens advice website which can be found here.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/travel-leisure-and-food/holidays/your-holiday-company-goes-out-of-business/your-package-holiday-organiser-has-gone-out-of-business/

Fake online reviews up for sale

reviews

Hopefully we all know that everything is not always as it appears on the internet. A recent BBC investigation uncovering a global trade in fake customer reviews serves to reinforce this.

Research suggests that 20% of comments posted on review websites are bogus.

See the article here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33186836

Looking into the world of double glazing

window

A Which? investigation has highlighted a potentially endemic culture of misleading claims in the double glazing industry.

15 out of 18 agents offered significant savings for customers, often half the original price – the biggest drop in the price was £16,926!!

Have a look at the article here:

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2010/jun/23/window-firms-misleading-public