Warning over cold callers

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RESIDENTS are being warned about cold-callers following complaints received by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service.

Trading standards have received several complaints from worried consumers who have been quoted a price to have moss removed from their roof, then found that the price has increased or they felt that they have been pressured into having unnecessary work done.

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Ltd, the UK’s oldest roofing trade association, has been receiving an unprecedented number of calls from members of the public, who have been approached about moss removal, which is usually followed up with the tiles being painted in order, so it is claimed, to prolong the life of the roof.

While NFRC is a dedicated roofing trade association that has been around for over 120 years they have never recognised the practice of moss removal or roof painting as a true roofing discipline. The reason being, in most instances, moss on roof tiles is rarely a problem and only needs to be removed if it is blocking gutters, outlets and other drainage points on the roof. Most techniques that they have come across to remove moss, are often achieved by violent means such as power-washing, which may cause damage to the roof, especially when combined with unnecessary foot traffic often leading to cracked or broken roof tiles.

The removal of the moss is often followed up by painting the roof tiles. There are claims that this can increase the thermal efficiency of roofs as well as extending the life of the roof tiles, but unless the products carry credible UK based, third party accreditation we would urge members of the public to view any claims with extreme caution.

Councillor Ben Smith, cabinet member for environment said: “Our advice is always very clear – don’t buy goods or services from someone who cold calls at your door. Our simple message, which is supported by Northamptonshire Police, is IF YOU’RE NOT SURE DON’T OPEN THE DOOR.

“If you do wish to have work done on your property, we recommend you use the Buy With Confidence scheme, which is operated by trading standards. Traders who are part of the scheme are stringently vetted and continuously monitored for legal compliance.”

To find a trader who is a member of the Buy With Confidence scheme visit the approved traders website.

Trading standards can supply a double-sided ‘No Cold Calling’ sticker so that residents can send a message that they don’t cold callers. For a sticker or a leaflet about doorstep crime please e-mail tradestd@northamptonshire.gov.uk.