News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 25 October 2017

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 25 October 2017

In this issue:

Doorstep trader activity warning


Residents are being warned to be on their guard if approached by cold callers offering any type of property maintenance.

This comes after a report from the Styvechale area where a vulnerable resident was approached and persuaded to have a drive done.  A second report came from the Canley area where a trader was knocking doors offering home improvement work, but made off when approached by the police.

Our advice to residents is to never buy services or goods from businesses that make contact out of the blue such as traders knocking on the door, or responding to leaflets put through your letterbox. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people who use cold calling as a method to defraud money from residents, by undertaking unnecessary or overpriced work. Often, the quality of the work is also very poor or ineffective and it can also be difficult to make contact with the traders should there be issues in the future.

If you do need work on your property or garden, use a reputable local trader recommended by friends or family or someone who has been vetted and is part of the Age UK (Coventry) Trusted Traders Scheme.

Coventry Trading Standards also has a free ‘Stop Cold Calling’ sticker pack to help deal with the growing problem of unwanted callers at your door. Visit for more details.

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Emergency plumbers that cost!


Emergency plumbing is a distress purchase and whilst most emergency plumbers may be legitimate, some may be unqualified and are past-masters at dragging the job out to maximise their income.

Winter of course will be a busy time and the rogues know this!

Many emergency plumbers will charge a call out fee and then charge for every half hour they are on the job but cases reported to Trading Standards shows just how these costs can escalate.

After finding a blocked drain one local resident found themselves facing a £672.20 repair bill.

It started with a call to the first 24 hour emergency plumber who was available. They explained that their charge was £47.50 per half hour per plumber plus a further charge of over £55.00 per half hour if equipment was needed.

As soon as the plumber arrived paperwork was presented and a signature requested confirming the half hourly charges. The trader said he would have to use some equipment, namely a camera which was inserted into the drains. After 2 hours the job was completed and a charge of over £670.00 was then demanded.

In other cases that we are aware of, an emergency plumber charged £1,127.52 for some work which, after the resident’s insurance company commissioned a report, said should not have cost more than £152.06.

Another paid over £700 to clear a blocked toilet which included the cost of a high power jet wash and pump hire. The trader was present for two hours and charged £380 for labour. The paperwork simply said - blocked toilet.

Our advice if you are faced with a plumbing/heating emergency:

  • Don’t go with the first free engineer you find.
  • Ask friends, family or other businesses for recommendations – preferably before you ever need to call anyone. Keep the numbers on your phone.
  • Ask plenty of questions about what the job involves and how long it will take.
  • Check if the tradesman has the right credentials to work on your appliances.
  • Seek out bona-fide trade organisations e.g. Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) who have a complaints procedure and make sure anyone working on your gas boiler is a vetted Gas Safe engineer.
  • Don’t just leave the trader to it – check every so often to check on what they are doing.

It is accepted that most emergency repairs will cost more than your standard callout but don’t give the rogues an opportunity. Have the confidence to question or get a second opinion.

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BrightHouse rent-to-own firm pays £14.8m in redress

white goods

Rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse has been told to pay £14.8m to 249,000 customers by the financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

BrightHouse will compensate customers who had cancelled agreements after one downpayment but had not been refunded.

It will also make payments to those who signed up to lending agreements that "may not have been affordable".

The FCA said BrightHouse had not acted as a "responsible lender".

Read the full story.

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Recall: Boots Baby Airflow Soothers


The following notice has been issued by the retailer:

  • Boots Baby Airflow Soother 0-6 months 62-69-044
  • Boots Baby Airflow Soother 6 months+ 62-69-052

As part of our ongoing quality monitoring programme we've identified a potential safety issue with the above products. The comfort and wellbeing of our customers is very important to us so we're asking you to stop using the soothers immediately.

If you've bought this product for someone else, please let them know about this as soon as possible. No other soothers in this line are affected.

Please return it to your nearest Boots store where you'll receive an exchange, alternative product or a refund.

We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. 

If you do have any concerns or need any further advice then please speak to someone at your local Boots store or call the Boots Customer Care team on 0800 915 0004. Minicom users can call 0800 915 0740

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Recall: Les Brioche Pain au lait Brioche Rolls 8 Pack


Les Brioche is recalling its Les Brioche Pain au lait Brioche Rolls 8 Pack because they have been incorrectly packed with Les Brioche Chocolate Chip Brioche Rolls, which contain soya. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to soya. The affected product was only available in Co-op stores.

  • Product: Les Brioche Pain au lait Brioche Rolls 8 Pack
  • Brand: Les Brioche Pack size: 280g
  • Best before end: 4 November 2017
  • Batch code: L09 14:43 UK1 279

Advice: If you have bought the above product and have an allergy to soya, do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought.

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