YORKSHIRE folk are fed up with being ripped off by rogue traders, says a new survey.
Figures from the Department of Business showed that 95% of people in the region want a crackdown on misleading, aggressive and unfair selling tactics, while eight out of 10 people said they had been pestered by pushy salesmen at the door or on the phone.
More than seven out of 10 people polled had experienced repeated sales pitches from the same firm – despite telling them they did not want to hear from them again.
Almost a third said they had been duped into buying something after being given misleading information.
And a massive 96% had been told they had won a competition they never entered – a practice which usually breaks personal data law.
The survey comes as the Government unveiled proposals for a new law to crack down on sharp sales practices.
If parliament approves of the plan, the tougher Consumer Protection Regulations will come into force on May 26.
Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas said: “Consumers have the right to be treated honestly and fairly, whether shopping on the high street, at home, through a catalogue or online.
“Life is going to get tougher for the small minority of rogue traders who treat customers with contempt, pressuring, bullying or lying their way into making a sale. These practices will not be tolerated.”
The new regulations will ban 31 types of unfair sales practices outright – including bogus “closing down” sales, prize draw scams, aggressive doorstep selling, offering free gifts that aren’t really free and displaying false accreditations – such as wrongly claiming to be a CORGI-registered plumber.
The new regulations will be enforced by Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading, who will have the powers to impose unlimited fines and lengthy prison sentences, depending on the seriousness of the offences,
Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards, welcomed the new regulations.
He said: “These regulations consolidate under one piece of legislation a number of existing valuable controls and also supplement them with new provisions that will close many loopholes.
“This should mean simpler, more effective controls that will protect consumers, assist us to take action against those trading unfairly – while at the same time benefiting honest traders.”
For advice on consumer issues, ring Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk