Unwanted Doorstep Traders? Nominate Your Road For A No Cold Calling Zone
October 7, 2015 Leave a comment
We at Suffolk Trading Standards can offer a number of helpful hints and tips to help deal with doorstep traders. One positive step in particular that Suffolk residents can take in the fight against these rogues is to consider nominating their road, street or close for a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’. If you’re reading this and are thinking that you’ve been subject to a number of doorstep callers recently or if the street on which you live is home to more vulnerable members of the public, why not consider nominating it to become a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’?
The scheme is operated by us here at Suffolk Trading Standards and, if your street meets an initial set of criteria, the creation of a zone is free to residents and is a simple, hassle-free process. The zone is effectively a way for the community to say collectively that doorstep callers are not welcome. The zone aims to empower residents to feel safer and more secure in their own homes. If anyone ignores the signs and stickers, residents are encouraged to inform Trading Standards immediately so that firm action can be taken against the trader.
Currently, we have set up 72 ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ in Suffolk. As you can see from the information below, these zones can be found in all areas of the county but some areas are less well represented than others. Whilst we welcome nominations in all areas of the county, we’re particularly keen to boost the numbers with the Babergh area. As such, if you live in Sudbury, Hadleigh, East Bergholt, Haverhill or any town or village in this district and you’ve had cold callers disturbing you, we’re counting on you to get in touch and nominate your road for a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’.
Importantly, for any zone to be created, we need to be able to justify its existence. Therefore it is crucial that you report any doorstep-related issues to either Trading Standards or Suffolk Police depending on its nature. Any reports are recorded and can then help to demonstrate that a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ is necessary and proportionate. Without the information, a zone cannot be established as part of central government criteria that Suffolk Trading Standards follow.
If you nominate a zone and it is declined for any reason, worry not because all is not lost and there are still options available. Usually a zone will be declined due to a lack of evidence to demonstrate that the road in question needs one. In this case, we can offer you the opportunity to report any incidents to Trading Standards or the Police and reassess the information after a few months. More than one nomination can be made for a road – it’s not a one-time only offer!
If your road is not suitable for a NCCZ we can provide you and interested residents who request one a free ‘super sticker’. There’s also the opportunity for individuals to request a ‘super sticker’ if they feel they are troubled by traders who cold-call them. These are offered free of charge on an individual request basis and are very similarly worded to the stickers that are distributed in No Cold Calling Zones.
The wording on both the NCCZ stickers and super stickers means that traders who ignore the request not to call at your door are committing an offence under consumer protection law. So anyone who has one of our stickers and is called by a trader we ask that they report the matter though our partners at Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service (‘CitA’)
Still not convinced about No Cold Calling Zones? It’s ok, we’re not finished yet. How about a few facts, figures and quotes from the residents within existing zones?
Still not convinced? You’re making us work hard for this, but don’t worry, we’re up to the challenge.
How about a genuine, real-life case study detailing how Suffolk Trading Standards will respond to complaints of door-knocking in a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’?
12:00 hours: Call received at Trading Standards HQ from a colleague at Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service. They have taken a call from a consumer alleging door knocking in her street, a designated ‘No Cold Calling Zone’. Details are taken and Trading Standards speak directly to get further details.
12:10 hours: Two officers leave HQ to head for the Zone, some 12 miles away.
12:30 hours: Officers arrive at the local Police Station to meet up with a Police colleague to assist with approaching the door-knockers.
12:40 hours: Arrive at the ‘No Cold Calling Zone’. No sign of the door-knockers in the street, but after a short drive around the area, two gentlemen fitting the description given by the homeowner are spotted and are stopped.
12:45 hours: Conversation undertaken with the two individuals to ascertain their names, addresses, their line of work and their reasoning for being in a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ and ignoring the clear signs and stickers in each property. Details of the individuals are checked against police and trading standards’ databases to verify the information and to ascertain whether they have any previous history with either the Police or Trading Standards.
13:15 hours: Satisfied that the information ‘checks out’ the gentlemen are sent on their way having been advised on the law and on the understanding that further formal action may be taken in this case following a more in-depth analysis of the facts and evidence available.
13:25 hours: Whilst talking with these two gentlemen, the officers receive a call from a colleague back at HQ to say that another very similar complaint has been received from a different ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ in the same town. The officers, alongside the Police, head to this second location.
13:35 hours: Officers reach the second zone and join another police colleague who has stopped two males in the vicinity of the second zone. Their story is very similar to that of the first two males and it transpires that they are part of the same group that has travelled down to East Anglia from the North East to undertake their activities.
13:45 hours: Officers issue a similar verbal warning to these two men, to advise them that ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ should be respected and, by knocking on doors in a zone could lead to action under criminal law being taken. The gentlemen are advised that further formal action may be taken in this case.
14:10 hours: Officers visit the residents in each zone who complained to reassure them that Trading Standards take the zones very seriously and that a rapid response has been undertaken.
The following day, written letters of formal warning are sent to each of the four gentleman who were spoken to the day before. This means that we allege offences have been committed and the letters demonstrate that they have been warned formally about their future conduct in ‘No Cold Calling Zones’. All done and dusted within 24 hours!
By now, I expect you’re chomping at the bit to nominate your road, street or close for a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’. Excellent! Here are the contact details to enable you to make that important nomination:
To nominate your street for a No Cold Calling Zone, please contact Suffolk Trading Standards on (01473) 264859 or email us at: email@example.com
Don’t forget: you can also sign up as a Consumer Champion and ‘Join the Fight’ to help Suffolk Trading Standards win the war against scammers. All you need to do is contact us to provide an email address and we will send you weekly bulletins detailing the latest scams, hoaxes and product recalls to read and share with friends and families. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do the rest.