Residents are being urged to be vigilant against rogue traders offering over-priced or unnecessary building work, after a local homeowner fell victim to a property scam.
Hackney Council and the Police are asking residents to take time to consider quotes and whether they seem overpriced, use vetting sites to find reputable traders and to be wary when asked to pay money upfront.
The warning comes after Hackney Trading Standards and police officers attended the house of a Clapton resident in their 70s last week, having received a complaint through a ward councillor about a group of builders taking £10,000 of his money upfront, overcharging for work, and requesting a further £23,000 for extra jobs that they ‘found’.
Trading Standards officers arrived at the house to find the builders hacking plaster from the top floor so dialled 999 to call for Police support. Some of the men fled whilst the manager, when challenged, became abusive and contested that he had not done anything wrong. Checks carried out on the builders by Trading Standards officers with the national Rogue Trader Intelligence database showed previous complaints about the builder.
Officers stayed in the vicinity of the property to support the resident whilst Police arrived, and are continuing to provide longer-term support to the resident.
Homeowners and businesses who believe they have been a victim of this type of scam can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 4040 506.
Further advice on scams can be found here: hackney.gov.uk/watch-out-for-scams