With thanks to the Park Lifestyle Magazine
Rogue Traders come in all shapes and sizes and in all businesses across the world, from the
original double glazing salesmen of the 1980's to the billion pound stocks and shares of today.
They are often extremely knowledgeable in their field and will definitely have the 'gift of the gab'. They are often VERY persuasive and will have an answer to every (or so they think) objection you put their way.
The park home industry is certainly no exception to these types of outfits and we have and continue to be, plagued by them on a nationwide basis.
Don't be caught out!
Keith Hanger from Prestige Developments explains; "Almost every day I get a call from a distressed park home owner who has been duped out of a considerable amount of money, only to realise that he/she has been grossly overcharged, or has had very poor work done, or in extreme cases has paid money out and not had ANY work done....."
Invariably it is very difficult, indeed impossible to track the company and workmen down as they run 'ghost' businesses with addresses and telephone contacts that are untraceable, or not having their contact details available at all!
Some typical examples of tactics and wording used are:-
"We are in the area and can offer a special deal as long as we can carry out the work today,"
"We will need to be paid in cash, but don't worry we can take you to the bank to make a withdrawal,"
"We've noticed a minor problem with your home, which we can rectify whilst we are here for a small sum."
As soon as the client gives the the OK they will start work and then esculate the problem, pointing out other 'issues' that they can rectify at the same time, £50 can quickly escalate to £1,000 and beyond.
If you want to check they are not a 'ghost' company, look up the company at Companies House.
NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM ANYONE WHO APPROACHES YOU OR KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR.
If you receive a leaflet through your letterbox (even reputable businesses use this method known as Direct Mailing) before you contact the company, carry out checks.
NEVER allow anyone you do not know to carry out a 'minor' repair to your home.
ASK FOR AND INSIST UPON A WRITTEN QUOTATION ON HEADED NOTEPAPER WITH ALL THE COMPANY CONTACT DETAILS AND WRITTEN TERMS AND CONDITIONS BEFORE COMMITTING TO ANYTHING.
Ask for personal ID such as a driving licence and NEVER let anyone into your home you do not know.
Request copies of a business's Health and Safety Policy.
ASK FOR A COPY OF THEIR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICIES.
If you have access to a computer, go online to Companies House, follow the links and enter the company name. If it does not appear or shows no accounts available, BEWARE, they may be a 'Ghost' company.
Do your own homework, ask your park warden/manager/owner if they know of them. Ask them to give you references of satisfied customers.
These are just a number of safeguards, but if all park home owners work along these guidelines, everyone (especially you) will be protected and minimise the risk of being taken for a ride.
If you feel you are being 'ripped off', but are afraid of confrontation, lock your door, ring the manager or warden, call a family member or a friend or neighbour and do not hesitate to call the police.
At the end of the day, don't beat yourself up about it, if it happens to you. We ALL get taken in at some time and these guys are professionals in deceit. Brush yourself down, move on and take it on the chin.
Prevention is far better than cure, but hopefully armed with the above, you'll be better placed to double check next time.
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