Police advice over high pressure selling to pensioners
Police are urging caution after reports of companies using high pressure tactics to sell mobility products to older and more vulnerable residents.
The warning follows complaints to council and trading standards services in Nottingham, but officers in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales are concerned that companies may also target residents in the area.
While no incidents have been reported this year to officers in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales, in 2009 an 80-year-old woman in Fairfield, Buxton was sold an adjustable bed for £3,500 and offered finance, which led to her accumulating almost £6,000 of debt which she was struggling to pay.
Community Safety Sgt. Jon Lloyd said: “The lady was suffering from symptoms of dementia and had not fully realised what she had signed up for or understood the terms and conditions.
“We would advise people to avoid buying from cold callers, to make sure you get more than one quote from different reputable companies in the area and to decide on the purchase without feeling pressured.”
The bed was returned to the company, who were trading legally, and the firm refunded the money after enquiries by trading standards officers.
Sgt. Lloyd added: “We would also ask people to keep an eye out for friends and relatives, to make sure they are aware of these types of sales tactics and aware of their rights.”
Prospective buyers are advised to consider using companies that are members of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). Each BHTA company has a signed up to a special code of practice which has been given approval by the Office Fair Trading.
For advice and information on consumer issues contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or alternatively visit the website: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk