Residents across Bath and North East Somerset are being warned to beware of unscrupulous traders trying to scam them out of money.

The council’s Trading Standards team has recently seen an upsurge in the number of complaints from people who have been telephoned and offered loft insulation.

The caller often claims they have been asked to carry out a free inspection as the householder’s previous installer had used faulty products or ceased trading. Following their inspection, the trader will then claim expensive work that needs to be carried out when it is not necessary. The trader will often take a deposit and never return or may install a thin roll of inadequate insulation or provide an ineffective spray treatment.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “Unfortunately, it appears some unscrupulous traders are trying to recover their loss of income during lockdown by scamming residents. Some of these traders are known to Trading Standards and subject to ongoing investigation. They can be charming and polite and particularly prey on elderly and vulnerable residents who are less likely to be able to check their lofts and agree to the work. Our advice is to always say no to these callers and report them.”

Neighbouring districts have also reported an increase in rogue ‘Tree Specialists’ targeting elderly people with leaflets offering ‘special discounts for OAPs.’ Residents are advised to not enter into any contract without carrying out research and not to part with any money before work is completed.

Traders can be reported to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service by calling  0808 223 1133 or visiting https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/

If residents need loft insulation, the National Insulation Association has a list of approved installers at https://www.nia-uk.org/nia-members/installers/.

For other Trading Standards approved businesses visit: https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/