Bogus builder warning after resident duped

The no cold-caller warning sign.

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Islanders have been warned to be extra vigilant when having building work carried out after a recent incident on Arran.

An elderly resident paid a mainland builder more than £7,000 to repair a leak in her roof, which was never repaired, and the builder has failed to return calls or respond to emails for more than two months.

North Ayrshire Trading Standards says it has been in touch with the woman and are providing support. The incident happened in mid-December but officials declined to say where it happened.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for economy, said: ‘People say they will never get caught out but yet they do, as they let their guard down or decide they will get work done, despite many promises from a family member that they will do it.

‘This elderly lady has been extremely unfortunate. The builder may have some level of experience but this job appears to have been too much for them – yet they have charged a lot of money and not solved the problem. The fact they have gone to ground is also evidence that they are not interested in providing a good and proper service.

‘Rogue traders in general target vulnerable residents and carry out little or no work, charging exorbitant sums of money. They will usually offer roofing, driveway or gardening services at a reduced price, but work is often unnecessary or badly done and the trader later increases the price.

‘While it might be tempting to agree to low prices being offered on the doorstep, it doesn’t add up.’

Trading Standards say this incident has strengthened their desire to make Arran the first island to become a ‘no cold caller zone’, as highlighted by the Banner in November last year.

Zones are established to protect residents from unwanted doorstep callers. They are designed to act as a deterrent to stop businesses cold calling in areas that are clearly marked and empower local residents to feel confident about sending unwanted callers away.

Councillor Gallagher added: ‘We are trying to make Arran a place that cold-callers and scammers won’t want to visit. If we have support from the local community, backed up with messages displayed everywhere – on lampposts and people’s doors – it will send a message that cold callers are not welcome in Arran.

‘The outcome is then a reduction in overall crime, including less doorstep crime and distraction house breaking.’

Warning signs are available to households on Arran who want them.