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The Cotswold Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Cotswold related information.

Check Gardeners' Credentials

Check Gardeners' Credentials Before Letting Them Get to Work on your Property

Gloucestershire Police and County Council Trading Standards are warning members of the public amidst concerns that cold calling gardeners may be trying to gain work by associating themselves with a legitimate company.

On Monday afternoon, police received a report that a man had called on an elderly resident in Lansdown Road, Gloucester and tried to persuade her to have a tree cut down.

The man, who arrived in a white van, claimed to be related to the legitimate Greenfields Garden Services Ltd company. The woman was suspicious and refused the offer and it has since been confirmed that Greenfields is not connected with this man in any way.

The man is described as white and of medium build with light to medium brown short hair. He is thought to be in his mid-30s and has an Irish accent. He was with a boy of about 12.
Crime reduction officer PC Kevin Ireland said: "Remember never to open your door to someone you don't know and trust, no matter how good a deal they seem to be offering. Ask the caller to make an appointment and come back later at a time when you can have someone with you and, in the meantime, check their identity by looking up the number of the organization they claim to represent in the phone book.
"Unfortunately it's well known for people to be left out of pocket and very distressed after accepting the services of unscrupulous people who do a botched job on their driveways or gardens then demand an exorbitant price. It's therefore worth stopping and thinking very hard and making sure you have all the right written agreements before agreeing to let someone loose on your property."

Warning residents to be as vigilant when responding to cold callers as to flyers, he advised: "Never agree to work being carried out until you are satisfied you are dealing with a bona fide company and have a written agreement about the job to be done and the price involved. It is also vital to make sure you've received written notice of your right to cancel any agreement with anyone who has called uninvited.

"We also suggest that you get at least three quotes for the job you want doing and remember that having a company recommended to you by a neighbour or friend who has experienced their services counts for a lot.

If you're concerned when you see a stranger on your doorstep, call the Bogus Caller Helpline, free of charge, on 0808 1000 777. Trained staff who can help you check whether they are genuine will answer.

If you feel threatened by someone at your door, call Gloucestershire Police on 0845 090 1234.

Roger Marles, Head of Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said: "We would recommend that consumers are very cautious of proceeding with work on the basis of a cold call and would encourage them to obtain 2 or 3 quotes before deciding to go ahead.

"If any trader obtains work costing more than 35 as a result of an uninvited visit they must give a written notice confirming the name of the trader and stating the customer's right to cancel within seven days of making the contract. It must also provide a name and address of the person to whom the cancellation can be sent."

A spokeswoman for Greenfields Garden Services Ltd said: "We are a well established family run local business and have always prided ourselves with good customer care and follow this six-principle code of ethics:

1. Never cold call
2. Always supply a written quotation
3. Never harass potential customers for work
4. Polite and friendly staff
5. Always leave site in a tidy condition as we would like it left ourselves
6. Fully insured and qualified staff (qualification can be produced if required)

"All our workmen drive sign written vans and are more than happy for you to ring our office yourself to clarify their identity. Please call us on 01452 790190"
Two people who allegedly posed as Greenfields workers previously are due to appear in court later this month.

Anyone with information about the people described in the above incident is asked to contact Gloucestershire Constabulary on 0845 090 1234, quoting incident number 329 of July 30th.

Posted : 03/08/2007 17:29:01

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