Bait and switch con warning for Aberdeen

Trading standards officers today warned residents to be aware after a homeowner was targeted by a gang of smartly dressed young men driving prestige Range Rover and Mercedes cars in a door-to-door selling scam.

The peddlers promise unsuspecting consumers big discounts on top-of-the-range kitchenware however it is a bait and switch con, and the actual goods sold do not match the sample or description.

Aberdeen City Council’s trading standards service were alerted to the scam by a Bieldside resident who paid £200 for a set of pans that could be sourced for only £20 online.

Graeme Paton, trading standards manager, said: “The men claim to be visiting from Switzerland, selling top-of-the-range kitchenware to upmarket hotels.

“They tell unsuspecting householders the goods are left over from an exhibition or demonstration at a top hotel before offering them a deal at a big discount against a full price.

“In the case we know about, the resident was told the goods were manufactured by a big kitchenware brand and were professional quality pans. When he got the pans out of the box, he realised he’d been sold bargain basement items at an inflated price.

“The seller was long gone and the resident had not been left any cancellation rights or means to contact the trader.”

In law, consumers are entitled to a 14 day cancellation period when they have bought goods and services more than £42 in their own homes. Door-to-door traders are required to provide paperwork including their contact details and a cancellation form.

Consumer protection regulations also make it a trading offence for sellers to mislead consumers in their sales pitch. Making false statements about recommended prices or other supposed discounts, or falsely suggesting goods were manufactured by a trader would also fall foul of the regulations.

Where a consumer has no means of contacting the seller to raise a complaint, it means returning misdescribed goods, cancelling a contract or getting a refund can be practically impossible.

Trading standards officers advise anyone approached by door-to-door sellers to politely say they are not interested and report the matter to trading standards by phoning 03454 04 05 06.