THURROCK Council and Essex Police are warning people to be careful when dealing with businesses cold calling to sell security alarm systems.
Thurrock Council’s trading standards have been informed about a number of recent telephone calls promising free alarm equipment.
However the businesses selling the alarms are not making it clear there is a monthly monitoring charge. Most of the phone calls have been made to people in the Chafford Hundred area although other areas of the borough may also get calls.
Cllr Angie Gaywood, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for public protection, said: “We want to warn residents to be wary of anyone who says their alarm system is on special offer or is linked directly to the local police and fire stations.
“These are not true and are sales tactics to try to convince you to sign up.
“We would ask everyone to check on elderly relatives or neighbours who may be targeted by these companies and warn them too.”
Anybody interested in buying a security system, should contact local companies – preferably with a shop premises that can be visited. People should also look out for relevant trade memberships such as SSAIB (Security Systems Alarms Inspection Board) or SIA (Security Industry Authority) and get two or three quotes to find out what is available and to compare costs.
If you have any queries about your rights, would like some help to find a good local trader or have dealt with a company that you have concerns about, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline for further advice on 08454 040506.
Charlotte Edwards, Thurrock Council’s principal officer, trading standards, said: “If you have signed up to such a system at home, you must be given written information about your cancellation rights by the trader.
“These rights allow you to cancel the contract for those goods and services for seven days starting with the day after you signed the contract.
“These apply to any contract made in the home for goods and services over £35.”
She added: “If you change your mind, you can write to the trader to cancel the contract without any penalty.
“It can be difficult to ask someone to leave your home without signing up once they have been there for a couple of hours – however, once you do ask a salesperson to leave they must do so or they may commit a criminal offence.”