Warnings & Consumer Rights - be aware!

Image of warning handKeep your wits about you!  Don't fall victim to crime, unscrupulous sales people or be taken in by scam emails. Heed Police and Trading Standards warnings below, and know your rights as a consumer.

The telephone number to contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service is 03454 040506.  This is a National rate telephone number and so it means that it is cheaper for everyone to be able obtain advice and information.

Suffolk County Council & Trading Standards produce weekly newsletters which are shown in the list to the left and include details of scams, warnings, advice and product recalls. Their website has all of this and more.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force 1st October 2015. It seeks to make the law clearer and easier to understand for both consumers and businesses alike. As well as covering the purchase of goods and services, there are now provisions covering Digital Content. Read the Key Points of the Act.

Police Warnings 

The following is a Police Connect message dated 21.4.16. Operation Warrington

Police across the region are currently investigating a small spate of burglaries where elderly people have been targeted by groups of men. The men often claim that work is required on the property and may force their way into the house where they steal cash or other valuables. We would like to take this opportunity to remind people how to stay safe at home, therefore please see attached document. Please take this opportunity to speak with elderly friends, relatives and neighbours and make sure that they are aware how to keep themselves safe at home. Heed this advice.

Thieves are stealing heating oil again Take steps to protect yours
If your house is burgled don't let your car be stolen too
Don't make life easy for thieves

Make your home a Rogue Free Zone

Scams & Doorstep Problems

Hoaxes don't only take place at our doorsteps, many occur online or over the telephone. Old scams are on a separate page.

Did you know only approx 5% of scams are reported. If you spot a scam, report it via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
See the Money Saving Expert's 30 Ways to Stop Scams.
Think you can spot a scam? Take the ThreatTest

How to avoid unwanted calls, mail & scams

Opt out of junk (unaddressed) mail delivered by Royal Mail here
Royal Mail - How to get rid of unaddressed mail put through the door including mail to ‘The Occupier’
Register with the Mailing Preference Service to cut down on unwanted letters
If you think you or a family member is receiving scam mail, you can report it to Royal Mail
Scam Mail Reminder
Register with the TPS to cut down on unwanted phone calls
Report online scams and viruses here
How to report a fraud if English is not your first language
Scam Awareness in British Sign Language
Top tips for spotting direct mail scams
How to stop spam texts
How to spot a fake website
How to get your money back after a scam
How to avoid Holiday scams - infographic
A reminder of How to Avoid Ticket Fraud

Online

Tips & Links to help you spot fraudulent websites. 
Don't be caught out by Copy Cat websites.

Learn how to spot spam emails (probably!)
Six tips for avoiding Social Networking Scams
You can get tips from HMRC on recognising and reporting bogus and phishing emails here

Tips for safer Shopping Online
The worst passwords you can use online
Know your Consumer Rights when you buy online

DON'T BUY FAKE GOODS ONLINE Brand-i is a website to help shoppers avoid buying fake branded goods online. The site works like a search engine where the user looks for brands like Ugg or GHD and will be shown a list of approved retailers.

Doorstep Buying

Read how to show rogue traders the door.

Beware Of Bogus Callers

  • Do not let strangers into your house risking a distraction burglary. If you have a door chain or bar please use this when answering the door, always check identification – genuine callers will be happy to wait while you check with the relevant utility company using the number in the phone book - and if you are in any doubt please alert police immediately using 999.
  • Be cautious when dealing with casual doorstep callers - don't be duped into paying for work that may not have been done, eg. roof repairs. 
  • Don't pay more than you should for Mobility Aids - Trading Standards are concerned people may be pressurised by doorstep sales people into paying more than they should for Mobility Aids.
  • Be vigilant when companies offer burglar alarms for as little as a pound - they won't tell you of running costs which may cost thousands when tied into a contract.
  • A doorstep trader is unlikely to offer you the best deal when selling antiques, jewellery and gold for cash. Don’t feel pressured into selling anything you don’t want to.
  • Police will mark your valuable items at no cost. Don't respond to companies offering to mark your items.

If you do not wish to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls, you can register for free via the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707 or online.

Who's Calling You?

Tips to avoid Telephone Scams

Credit Card Advice

Never give your credit card PIN to anyone over the phone - avoid getting caught out:

  • Neither the bank or police would ring and collect your bank card from your home if it's nearing expiry date.
  • Neither would ask a consumer to authorise anything by entering their PIN number into a handset
  • Never share your PIN number with anyone.

Anybody with any concerns should phone Citizens Advice Consumer Service (Trading Standards) for advice on 03454 040506. If you are concerned about an incident please contact Suffolk Police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.

Shopping

Find a reliable trades person - use Checkatrade.com

Watch out for rogue mobility companies
Rogue Burglar Alarm companies on the prowl in Suffolk

LOFT INSULATION - GET IT FROM THE RIGHT SUPPLIER. Suffolk Trading Standards are advising caution when dealing with cold calls from sales people suggesting that loft insulation is required and that a grant can be obtained. See the advice Trading Standards give.

THINKING ABOUT BUYING A NEW MOBILE PHONE? Read the advice given by Suffolk Trading Standards to avoid ending up with one you don't want because of hardware problems or poor network coverage, and being tied into a lengthy contract.

Money Problems...

BEWARE CONNING INVOICES & DEBT DEMANDS - Don't pay if you receive an invoice but only requested a quote, or respond to a debt collector when the debt's not yours.

YOUR BANK IS UNLIKELY TO PHONE TO OFFER TO REFUND BANK CHARGES, they'll write to you, so hang up if someone calls - it's a scam.

Vehicle Crime

Remember to lock up your vehicles and remove valuables - don't encourage theft. Don't be taken in by distraction thefts in car parks - keep your eye on your belongings, especially your handbag or wallet and don't let your credit or cash cards be stolen.