Doorstep Crime

What is it?

Man in a blue hard hat talks to a lady on her doorstep while second man looks down the street.

There are many forms of doorstep crime, the main types being Distraction Burglary, Bogus Callers / Bogus Officials, High Pressure Doorstep Selling and Rogue Traders. Due to the nature of these crimes and the offender profiles Cheshire East Trading Standards works closely with partner agencies such as the Cheshire Constabulary to combat this intrusive and often upsetting crime. Doorstep Crime is a major issue and a high priority for Cheshire East Trading Standards, we are actively engaged in a number of projects and innovative approaches to tackle this type of crime and we are intelligence led in our methodology.

Doorstep Crime can affect anyone but often older and vulnerable adults are more at risk from becoming victims of bogus cold calling and rogue doorstep sellers.

Doorstep Callers and Sellers

Some traders who call at your door can be honest and genuine. However, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. Examples of bad practices associated with cold calling and doorstep selling include pressure selling, unfair contracts, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements, phoney consumer surveys and bogus charity collections. Often services offered through cold calling are home improvements and repairs, security systems, mobility aids, gardening services, power washing, tarmac and driveway repairs etc.

They may pressure you to agree for work to be done or to conclude a sale. Tactics which are often used are:

  • You’re made to feel grateful
  • Made to feel you’ve lots in common
  • There’s a sense of urgency in the offer, ‘one day only’
  • You’re made to feel committed
  • Made to feel you’ll be happy with product
  • Sold a ‘sob story’ or their livelihood’s in danger

Rogue doorstep sellers will usually insist on starting the work the same day and will often ask for cash upfront. They may offer to take you to the bank or building society so you can get the money out. These are some of the phrases they may use:

  • “We are only in the area today”
  • “We were doing a job in the area and we have some materials left over”
  • "I noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof"
  • "There have been a lot of burglaries in the area recently"
  • "This cut-price special offer is only available if you sign today"
  • “If you pay by cash we will give you a discount”
  • "If you don't have work done it could cause further damage"

If you agree to work of this kind then you may be subject to the following problems:

  • High prices
  • Deposits taken and no work performed
  • No guarantee
  • No address or contact details are given
  • Further cold calls in the future

Always be wary of leaflets posted through your door offering services, this can be just another way the unscrupulous trader will attempt to persuade you to have work done.

If you feel you have been a victim of Doorstep Crime please call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506.