Rogue mobility aid traders targeted
Trading standards are cracking down on rogue traders who prey on vulnerable people, bullying them into buying overpriced mobility aids, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
The LGA said hundreds of thousands of pounds are being retrieved and given back to older and disabled people who were conned into parting with their cash to buy over-priced equipment such as mobility scooters, stair lifts and walk-in baths.
The association said councils' trading standards officers are fighting back against the rogues, who may pose as social care professionals to dupe people out of their life-savings.
Hampshire County Council trading standards officers had already recovered £277,000 obtained from vulnerable residents.
The council set up a mediation service to help people who get into serious difficulties when buying goods or services, or who become a victim of a scam.
Residents recently helped include a man in his late 80s who was bullied into buying a £5,000 motor scooter when he already had one.
In another case an 80-year-old lady was cold-called by a home improvement company and pressured into signing two contracts totalling more than £13,000.
Both got all their money back with help from the mediation service, the council confirmed.
Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of Local Government Regulation (formerly LACORS), said: "People who target vulnerable members of society have no morals and will not think twice about piling on the pressure to ensure they get as much money as possible."
Trading standards departments are urging anyone who has fallen victim to such a crime or feels they are being targeted to contact their local council or Consumer Direct urgently.