News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 22 August 2017

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 22 August 2017

In this issue:

Bogus phone calls claiming to come from HMRC - again!


Coventry Trading Standards is again warning the public to be wary of bogus telephone calls claiming to be from HMRC.

This comes as two residents from the Sherbourne and Parkside areas of the city both reported receiving a recorded message which advised that HMRC were filing a lawsuit against them and to press 1 to speak to an adviser or there could be serious legal consequences.

Thankfully neither resident responded as both realised that this was a scam and hung up on the call. It would appear that this was an attempt to obtain personal information which would have included bank details.

This latest scam is being investigated by HMRC’s fraud section and HMRC has published advice with genuine HMRC contacts and how to recognise scams.

HMRC also advise that if any details are inadvertently disclosed, contact them immediately on

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Warning: Doorstep callers offering roofing work


Coventry Trading Standards have received two reports of vulnerable residents in the Hillfields and Holbrooks areas being targeted by cold callers who claimed they needed roofing work carrying out.

The first report was passed over by vigilant staff from Coventry Building Society who became concerned when a customer requested a significant cash withdrawal to pay for a crane for some roofing work.

When asked, the resident said they had been cold called by a trader who had pointed out that some urgent work was required to the roof.

A substantial amount of money had already been paid in cash but no work had even been started.

The Police attended but unfortunately the traders had already left.

Although money had already been handed over to these traders, thanks to the prompt action of bank staff, a significant amount was saved.

In the other incident an elderly resident was also cold called and told there was a broken tile on their roof.

A small amount of cash was paid together with a cheque which the trader said they would complete when the work was finished. No paperwork was provided indicating what work was to be carried out or what the total amount due was going to be. Thankfully, the cheque was cancelled before it could be cashed.

Our advice as always is not to deal with cold callers as this is a favoured approach used by rogue traders whose sole intention is to extract as much money from residents as possible.

We would also ask that if you have any elderly or vulnerable neighbours that you keep a look out for rogue traders especially if you notice cold callers in your area or anyone acting suspiciously. It would also help if registration numbers of vehicles being used by the cold callers are noted down and reported.

If you have any information that may help us track down these unscrupulous cold callers or you wish to report any incidents involving a rogue trader or doorstep crime, contact us on 03454 040506 or use our online reporting form

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Employing a Tradesperson – Trading Standards Advice


Whilst the Internet and social media is a wonderful thing, it also creates opportunities for the more unscrupulous to strike, such as rogue traders.

Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who may cold-call householders, advertise on the Internet, or respond to social media requests for tradespeople, often targeting vulnerable residents. They may claim to be a bona fide business and claim to offer various services, most commonly home maintenance and repair, along with gardening and landscaping services.

Trading Standards advise:

  • Never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep.
  • Always get written quotes from at least two traders for any work and if possible, go on personal recommendations from friends and family
  • Any trader who calls at your home, and you employ to do a job, has to give you details of your right to cancel in writing. It is a criminal offence not to. When you enter into a contract at your home you are entitled to a 14 day cooling off period.
  • The trader still has to provide details of your right to cancel in writing even if you employ someone as a result of receiving a leaflet through your door.
  • The same applies if you have found someone on the Internet or Social Media. They too must give cancellation rights. Also remember, an address quoted by a trader may not be real or may be just an accommodation address where they have no physical presence.
  • Don’t be pressurised into making a quick decision or sign anything especially if this allows the work or installation to start immediately. Give yourself time to think about it.
  • Make sure you have full contact details for anyone you employ, including name, address and a landline number if possible.
  • Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.
  • Don’t pay in full until you're completely satisfied with the work and consider using stage payments throughout the work.
  • Keep your home and belongings safe during works and remember, anyone who is reluctant to provide written details does so for a reason. Don’t use anyone who refuses to give you a written quote or cancellation rights.

Also, be wary of leaflets posted through your door offering services; this can be just another way an unscrupulous trader will attempt to persuade you to have work done.

REMEMBER - a trader who ignores any request by you to leave your home and not return commits a criminal offence.

Another consideration is that by employing some doorstep tradespeople, you could also unwittingly become party to modern day slavery.

Modern slavery includes human trafficking and holding human beings in slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. It is quite often the case that vulnerable men are forced into manual labour who will receive very little pay and have to put up with poor living conditions.

Ask yourself, why is one company’s block paving so drastically cheaper than the rest? Think about the gardeners whose rates were so reasonable – did their workers look well-fed and have any breaks? 

In a recent slavery trial, eleven members of the same family were convicted. Read the full story.

If you have any concerns or believe someone working at your property may be being exploited, report it by calling the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700 or going online at

If you do need work on your property or garden, use a reputable local trader recommended and used by friends or family or someone who has been vetted and is part of the Age UK (Coventry) Trusted Traders Scheme. This service is available to people of all ages living in the Coventry area and can be contacted by phoning 024 7643 3982.

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Recall: Tesco Creamy Leek and Bacon Cooking Sauce

Creamy leek and bacon sauce

Tesco is recalling a batch of its Creamy Leek and Bacon Cooking Sauce because it contains egg which is not mentioned on the label.

Product: Tesco Creamy Leek and Bacon Cooking Sauce

Pack size: 470g

Best before: End of July 2018

Batch code: 7031

Risk: This product contains egg making it a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to egg.

Advice: If you have bought the above product and have an allergy or intolerance to egg, do not eat it. Instead return it to a Tesco store for a full refund. No receipt is required.

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Food Standards Agency: Update on Fipronil in eggs


The Food Standards Agency has issued the following update:

We continue our urgent work to trace egg products which might contain Fipronil. In most cases the identified products were past their expiry date but those remaining are being withdrawn immediately. 

We have updated our withdrawal list with 14 additional products that are still within their shelf life. Most of these products have been distributed to food manufacturers and catering outlets.

It remains very unlikely that there is any risk to public health, but as Fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals we are tracking down implicated food products and ensuring that they are removed from sale.

Read the full information plus the new list of withdrawn products.

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