Digital Switchover . Don’t be fooled!

The digital revolution is fast approaching but Thurrock Trading Standards is warning householders to beware of doorstep callers offering to help.

Thurrock is served by two different transmitters to receive its television signals but the first will switch over to digital in July 2011. At this time every television in the area will need to be able to receive a digital signal, for example through a satellite or set top box.

Residents eligible for help through the Switchover Help Scheme will receive information packs explaining how to apply. No one from Digital UK or Switchover Helpscheme will call unexpectedly without an appointment.

Trading Standards is warning householders that bogus callers may take advantage of potential confusion around the switchover to prey on vulnerable people. If you are looking at replacing your TV aerial make sure you use a Registered Digital Installer (RDI) who has been trained and security checked.

Thurrock Council Portfolio Holder for Crime and Disorder, Councillor Gerard Rice said: “I can understand that the digital switchover is confusing for many, particularly older more vulnerable residents. We want to ensure that everyone gets the right advice and help and would urge anyone to ignore offers that come via doorstep salesmen or flyers pushed through the door.”

These top tips will help to safely see you into the digital age:

1. There’s no such thing as a digital aerial. If you get a good analogue picture now, your existing aerial should be fine for digital. It may need replacing if it’s in poor condition. If you need a new aerial and you qualify for the Switchover Help Scheme, you can get one at no extra cost.
2. Use the test card at Ceefax p284 for guidance on whether you need a new aerial. If so, look for a Registered Digital Installer. Ask your local electrical retailer or visit www.digitaluk.co.uk to ensure they are registered. Don’t agree to have work done by an aerial installer who calls without an appointment and fails to show identification

3. Before work starts, agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates. Don’t pay upfront.
4. If you suspect you have been ripped off, or that there is a rogue trader in your area, call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

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