BEWARE the cowboy builders in the wake of the storms which lashed Huddersfield.
That was the warning today from consumer watchdogs, who fear rogue tradesmen will try to take advantage.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards is warning consumers to be extra vigilant when contracting with traders to rectify storm damage.
They fear uninvited, rogue traders will seek to take advantage of the unsettled weather by targeting vulnerable consumers for household repairs and jobs, such as roofing work and garden clearance services.
Communities are warned to be cautious and to look out for vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours and to ensure that unscrupulous rogue traders are unsuccessful in taking advantage of others’ misfortune.
Over the past two months, Consumer Direct in Yorkshire and the Humber, the government funded advice service, has received over 700 complaints directly relating to problems relating to home improvements with roofing, insulation and guttering work being amongst the most common complaints.
Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “Previous years have demonstrated that whilst rogue traders operate throughout the year, there is likely to be an increase in the numbers operating now to carry out roofing work.
“Typical scams include claims that tiles or chimneys are loose and dangerous, or that leaks will occur and damage properties. Large sums of money are also charged for small amounts of gardening work, to clear away leaves, shrubs and trees following unsettled weather”.
Huddersfield councillor Mohan Sokhal, of the Trading Standards Committee, said: “Although door-to-door canvassing is not illegal, we should be extra alert to what is happening in our communities. By being on the look-out for people who may be offering work and services on our streets, we can stop people we know from becoming victims of rogue traders”.