Elderly preyed upon with hard sell techniques

ELDERLY people have been warned to be on their guard against strong-arm selling techniques after residents in Holbeach and Long Sutton were targeted.

ELDERLY people have been warned to be on their guard against strong-arm selling techniques after residents in Holbeach and Long Sutton were targeted.

As well as the reports received from the two towns, a number of other residents have received calls from sales people offering advice and equipment for people suffering with mobility and other health problems.

The callers, believed to be from a company in the Nottingham area, have asked for personal details, including information about bank accounts.

They try to sell various mobility aids, offer help with claiming benefits and press for an appointment to visit people in their homes.

The warning has been issued by South Holland District Council and Lincolnshire Trading Standards, who believe elderly people are being deliberately targeted, including those living in sheltered housing schemes.

Coun Christine Lawton, South Holland District Council portfolio holder for housing, suggested residents should politely decline to talk to sales people cold calling on the telephone.

She said: “If one of our tenants or any other resident has a call from one of these sales people, demanding an appointment, our advice is to just say ‘no’.

“We recognise that tradespeople will want to sell their goods but it is unfair to prey on elderly and vulnerable people.”

Mrs Lawton added that if anyone needs benefits advice they should contact the Department for Work and Pensions or, if residents feel they need a new aid or piece of equipment, a referral can be made to an occupational therapist.

And Mark Keal, divisional manager for advice and information at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, advised residents never to feel pressurised to give out any personal details or agree to buy a product or service from a phone call alone.

He said genuine companies will be happy to provide full contact information and for potential customers to call them back when they have thought about the offer.

They should also be willing to provide details in writing.

Mr Keal said: “Research whatever they are offering with other companies and be absolutely sure that you want to take it up before you commit to buy.

“If you do want to make a purchase, make sure you have everything in writing before you make a payment.”

Anyone who does not wish to receive cold calls can register with the Telephone Preference Service by calling 0845 070 0707 or emailing tps@dma.org.uk.

If you wish to make a complaint about a company’s sales tactics, contact Trading Standards customer service team on 01522 782341.

l Have you had a bad experience with a sales person or any advice to give? Email spaldingeditor@jpress.co.uk