Beware of rogue traders

AFTER a string of incidents in Buckden, householders are being warned to be on the lookout for rogue traders offering driveway maintenance surveys. Three cold-calling cowboys have knocked on doors offering free estimates and quotations, but all is not as

AFTER a string of incidents in Buckden, householders are being warned to be on the lookout for rogue traders offering driveway maintenance surveys.Three cold-calling cowboys have knocked on doors offering free estimates and quotations, but all is not as "free" as it might first appear. Buckden resident Frank Horsley, 81, was backing his car into his garage when one of the men got out of a black Land Rover and enquired if he would like a free quotation for maintenance work on his drive."I said that would be OK and he quoted me £750. I thought that sounded reasonable, so asked him if he could give that to me as a written quotation," said Mr Horsley.The man then returned to his Land Rover where two other men were sitting, while Mr Horsley went back inside his house, believing that the men would come back later with a written quotation for him.However, about an hour later, Mr Horsley discovered the bricks from the driveway had been pulled-up."They had ripped up bricks from in front of both garages, so that I couldn't get either car out. They then gave me the written quotation for £1,700 rather than the agreed fee of £750," he said.Luckily for Mr Horsley, the eagle-eyes of a Neighbourhood Watch colleague, who had been offered the same service by the same three men, had seen them arrive at Mr Horsley's house and called the police, who arrived just as they had handed over their quotation.The company name on the quotation was "JL Langs Highway Division" and there was also an 0800 phone number, which was unobtainable when The Hunts Post tried to telephone it."I was very grateful to the police for being there. You just cannot believe these people," said Mr Horsley. "After I had declined their offer and the police were moving them on, one of them wanted to shake my hand! The thing is, if this sort of thing happened to an old lady, it could ruin her life."A police spokesman, said: "I would urge people not to buy from doorstep sellers or cold callers. If you are thinking about having work carried out on your property, contact a reputable company, preferably on recommendation."A county council spokesman said: "In these types of circumstances, where people are knocking on doors and offering to do work on driveways, we would suggest that they refuse the offer and a look around for a reputable company and get several quotes before agreeing to have any work done. Often, cowboy or rogue traders will knock on doors and suggest they are council workers with some excess tar left over. This is never the case and people should not be fooled by this approach."INFORMATION: For more advice contact your local police community safety department on 0845 4564564.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter