Unfortunately for many elderly people, doorstep callers can present a real threat to privacy and security, especially when you are alone and vulnerable and faced with a persistent and pushy cold caller.
Many elderly people can be targeted time and again by cold callers on the telephone and at the door and can even lead to depression in the elderly as they feel unsafe in their own homes and too frightened to answer their door.
The government, Age Concern and Help the Aged have all published information to help people tackle these door to door salesmen called Your Doorstep Your Decision so just how can you deal with them firmly and effectively?
Dealing with Unwanted Doorstep Callers
Here are a few top tips that you might want to print off and tack somewhere prominent near your front door.
Don’t Let Them In
Remember that it’s your home and callers have to be invited in, they cannot just enter your home without your permission – that is against the law. If they ask to come in, don’t be afraid to say no.
What The Law Says About Doorstep Traders
Remember that it is not illegal for traders to sell goods and services by knocking on doors but it is illegal for them to enter your home without permission or to stay when you have asked them to leave. This is trespassing and you can report them to the police.
If a cold caller makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, even if they leave when asked, you can still report them using the non-emergency number 101. Reporting suspicious callers may just help prevent them from targeting someone more vulnerable than you
The Doorstep Selling Regulations give you 7 days from when you signed a contact in which you are well within your rights to cancel. If they do not give you notice in writing of your right to cancel then they are committing a criminal offence.
Beware of traders who rush into completing a job or service for you as the law states that if a contract is started before the cancellation period of 7 days has finished, then the trader must be paid a reasonable cost for the work they have provided. So make sure you take the whole 7 days to think about it before agreeing for any work to begin.
Do The Checks
If a trader is legitimate then he or she will have full identification, a UK address and a landline number (not just a mobile) for you to contact them on. If they cannot provide any of these things then do not buy from them or use their services as they may well be rogue traders.
If you want to verify even further, have the number of your local Trading Standards handy so that you can call them to ask for advice or check on an individual.
Preventing Doorstep Callers
Sign up for the password scheme with your utility providers. All the gas, electricity and water companies will provide you with a unique password which will be used by legitimate callers to your home from these utility companies. If they don’t know the password then don’t let them in.
Use a spy hole or door chain to see who is there before you open the door. If you don’t have these then contact your local Age UK group who may be able to get these fitted free of charge for you.
You can obtain no cold calling stickers to place on your front door from the Trading Standards Website. Cold callers are legally obliged to heed these signs so they should reduce the number of unwanted visitors you receive.
LOCK your door whether you are at home or not.
STOP! Are you expecting a visitor?
CHAIN- use your spy hole or chain, never open the door fully if you don’t know who the caller is.
CHECK their ID, ask for their password and if they are selling or offering a service, ask them to leave their details instead which should have a full UK address and landline.
Guest post provided by Acorn Stairlifts who have been manufacturing stairlifts for over 20 years and helping elderly people live more independently in their own homes. Check out our helpful blog for more handy tips and advice.