News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 26 September 2017

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 26 September 2017

In this issue:

Bogus Council Tax calls

keep calm

Trading Standards have had a report of a scam telephone caller who claimed to be from ‘West Midlands County Council’ in order to gain personal details from a Binley resident.

The resident was asked for personal information relating to overpayment of Council Tax but thankfully refused to engage with the caller.

West Midlands County Council does not exist and Coventry City Council would not make this kind of approach to any resident, and certainly would not ask for personal information to be divulged.

In a second report, a Keresley resident who received a telephone call from a company was advised that since 1991, they had overpaid their Council Tax by £100 a year. For a ‘fee’ of £79, to be paid via credit card this company would be able to reclaim the overpayment, but again, the resident did not engage and refused the ’offer’.

We would advise that if any resident receives a similar call, do NOT give out any personal information, and hang up on the call. We are anxious for people not to be caught out, so please be on your guard for this or any other bogus caller.

Remember, If you feel your property has been placed in the wrong band, you can make an appeal to the Valuation Office for free at Our Council Tax team does not charge people a fee for appealing against their banding. 

You can report the call to Coventry Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

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Bogus door to door tree surgeons claiming to work for the Council


Trading Standards have had a report of door to door cold callers operating in the Walsgrave area offering to carry out gardening work such as cutting down and trimming trees and cutting back hedges.

One elderly resident was advised that the two males were from the City Council, and had come to cut down some tree branches that were overhanging the property.

On completion of the work, money was then demanded, but thankfully, due to a neighbour’s intervention, no payment was made. The men then made off in a white van, leaving all the cuttings behind.

Trading Standards advise that genuine Coventry City Council employees always carry identification, which includes a picture of them. They would also not be asking for payments.

You should always ask to see identification from any ‘official’ who may call and do not deal with anyone who doesn’t have identification. Council employees or any genuine tradesperson will be happy to wait while you make sure their identification is genuine.

If you are suspicious of a caller, don’t let them in or allow them to start any work. You should report this to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506, or if you feel threatened in anyway, call the police.

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National Prosecution News: Man behind call blocker scam ordered to pay £128,950

call blocker

A rogue trader who defrauded hundreds of people and is currently serving a five year prison sentence following his conviction for fraud at Bournemouth Crown Court. He has now been ordered to pay £128,950 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Giles Ward-Best, aged 44 years of Firbank Road in Bournemouth, traded as Telecom Protection Service Ltd & others from his base in Bournemouth selling Call Blocker devices. His conviction came following a lengthy investigation by the National Trading Standards South West Regional Investigations Team, hosted by Bristol City Council with support from Bournemouth Trading Standards.

Between 2013 and 2015 complaints flooded in from consumers nationwide, including Coventry, with many claiming they had been mis-sold, that they had been unable to return faulty devices or that they were unable to cancel within the cancellation period. A considerable number of Mr. Ward-Best’s victims were elderly and often found that their phones were simply not compatible with the call blocker: the equipment stopped the phone and internet connection from working at all or that when calls could be received, no nuisance calls were stopped.

Analysis of Mr. Ward-Best’s accounts showed that over the course of the scam he withdrew £424,000 in cash, with a further £44,100 directly transferred into his personal current account.

Following a hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday 12th September 2017, Ward-Best’s benefit from his criminal activity was put at £582,529.98. A confiscation order for the sum of £128,950 was made against him and he was given 3 months in which to pay or face an additional 2 years imprisonment.

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Check that piggybank! Don’t be left with coins you can’t spend!


It is now less than a month until the old round version of the pound coin will cease to be legal tender.

From 11.59pm on October 15, businesses are under no obligation to accept the round £1 coin from customers. Any unspent £1 coins after this date can be traded in at banks where you hold an account, or the Post Office, but this is only a temporary option – so it is a good idea to spend or exchange the coins now to avoid not being able to in future.

If you're still being handed back old £1 coins in shops and supermarkets, you can ask the cashier to give you a new £1 coin – if they have any – instead. However, businesses don't have to comply and until 15 October can continue to give out the old coin. After this date, it would have to be the new shape.

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Safety Recall: Tesco - GL Style - Light Up Jewellery


The following notice has been issued by the retailer:

RMS International Limited has identified a manufacturing fault affecting batch 221450-1. The batteries can become exposed during play and are harmful if swallowed.

As a precautionary measure, RMS International Limited are recalling the affected batch code from customers. No other RMS International Ltd products are known to be affected.

Batch code: 221450-1. This recall only affects products sold from August 2017 onwards.

Advice: Please stop using affected product.Please return affected products to store where a full refund will be given. No receipt is required.

Contact details: If you require further details, please contact RMS International Ltd directly on 0161 727 8182 or email

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams