Consumer Trader Alerts

Fish Sellers
Rogue fish sellers have been targeting older residents throughout Lancashire, claiming they have been sent from their regular fishmonger.

Rental Issues
After a number of referrals regarding meters set at double the price per unit that the landlord is charged, tenants need to be aware that their landlord should not be charging them over the amount he is paying for those utilities.

Common Phone Scams
Unsolicited phone calls are still a problem. One repeat caller, using a now-dead number, targeted a retired lady and asked her to complete her sort code, then tell him the expiry date and 3-digit number from her card. Another lady received repeated calls from someone wanting her bank card details before delivering an imaginary parcel. The scam claiming the recipient has a problem with their BT broadband and needs to allow access to their computer, or to pay for a fix, is still doing the rounds. Residents are warned never to give out personal or banking details to cold callers, even if they seem to have information about your accounts or your bank- there are many ways to obtain personal information about you, it does not mean callers are genuine.

Binary Bets
We have been receiving complaints about London-based companies offering “investments” which are actually bets on whether share prices go up or down, known as binaries. Binaries are legal provided the company is regulated, and the offer is clearly a bet, however recent referrals have been scams, where the companies have vanished and no monies are payable even where shares increase in value. One Chorley man recently lost ¬£100,000 on these types of binary scams.

Unlabeled fur
Complaints have been received about Lancashire retailers selling woolen hats

carrying unlabeled real fur bobbles. Cat and dog fur is illegal for sale in the UK, while other types of fur are legal but must be labelled so consumers know what they are buying. If worried about a purchase, check the ends, real fur tends to taper, artificial fur usually has blunt ends.

Counterfeit Products
There was a spike in referrals about counterfeit items before Christmas. Parents should be concerned about cheap copies of popular toys bought online, especially if sent straight from China, without being purchased via an authorized dealer or known website. Counterfeit batteries, chargers, Fingerling toys, and fidget spinners with loose choking-hazard parts were a concern over the festive period. Any 1.5 litre optic bottles of popular spirits, with writing upside down, purchased from shops and markets, are also likely to be counterfeit.

Consumer complaints should be referred to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers, research traders and memberships, and obtain prior quotes, references, and payment receipts. If you agree to a contract at home you usually have 14 days to change your mind and cancel.

The Safe Trader scheme can help you find a local trader, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to www.safetrader.ora.uk. To reduce telesales calls join the Telephone Preference Service, www.tpsonline.orq.uk. 0345 0700707.

 Provided by Whittington Parish Council

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