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North Yorkshire homeowners warned to watch for conmen

[Friday 19 January 2007]

HOUSEHOLDERS across North Yorkshire are being warned to be on their guard against conmen cashing in on the recent spate of bad weather.

It is an unfortunate fact that bad weather is often followed by rising reports of tricksters duping householders into paying over the odds for unnecessary work

John Fort - North Yorkshire County Councillor

The warning comes from the county's Trading Standards officers as homeowners begin to assess any damage caused by the spate of severe weather.

County Councillor John Fort has responsibility for trading standards, he said: "It is an unfortunate fact that bad weather is often followed by rising reports of tricksters duping householders into paying over the odds for unnecessary work to their homes."

"A common ploy is for workmen to scour areas for vulnerable victims and knock on their doors, alleging that tiles or chimney stacks are loose.

"While it is undoubted that the severe weather can sometimes cause structural damage, all too often, the work undertaken is unnecessary or severely overcharged."

In a recent example, an elderly man from the Hambleton area of the Yorkshire Dales was ripped off to the tune of over £50,000 after workmen cold called his house, told him there was storm damage to his roof and carried out extremely shoddy repairs.

The workers then continued to visit the man, overcharging for the work that they were carrying out.

Councillor Fort, added: "North Yorkshire County Council is committed to helping residents fight back against these unscrupulous practices. We're asking householders only to use traders they know for property repairs, and also, if they suspect that there are tiles loose, to get in touch with their home insurance company who may have a list of accredited traders in their area."

If you are visited by traders telling you your tiles are loose or that other repairs need to be carried out, contact North Yorkshire Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

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