Rogue traders

Rogue traders are ones that 'rip you off'.

They may mislead you into making a contract. Often, they are not at the address that they give to you.

We frequently receive complaints from consumers who have entered into contracts with traders who have either:

  • cold called on them
  • been called out by the consumer following the receipt of fliers pushed through the door (which they may or may not have responded to)

Often the addresses provided by the trader turn out to be false.

They may turn out to be what are known as ’accommodation addresses’.

An accommodation address:

  • is one where mail is delivered but the trader may not actually be physically based at that address
  • may simply be used as a telephone answering service

In some instances consumers even found these traders in their local directories.

Trading addresses which are false can be very convincing.

Advice concerning rogue trading

Do not do business at the door, or answer fliers.

Choose traders carefully. Make sure you can be certain that they are where they say they are.

Visit the address, where possible, to ensure that it exists.

Ensure the trader is at that address before entering into a contract with them.

Do not be fooled by people who call at your door saying that they are just working up the street or that they have done work for your neighbour! This is a common ruse to gain your trust. 

Remember you would not give money to a stranger that you met in the street. The people who call at your door are strangers too. You know nothing about them other than what they choose to tell you.

Please send us any fliers or leaflets that you suspect may be bogus.

Although our Trading Standards team works closely with the police and other agencies to stop rogue traders, many of the reports we receive from the public come too late for us to locate the traders and recover money paid.

The best way to tackle the problem is to:

  • turn them away at the door
  • say "no" to cold callers

Buy With Confidence

Do not become the victim of a rogue trader: choose a trader from the Trading Standards Approved Buy with Confidence scheme.

Further advice

For further information and advice, please telephone our partner organisation Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (free from landlines and mobiles). Lines open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, closed on public holidays.

Page last updated: 06 February 2020
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