Residents warning on alarm company 

12/08/10

Bolton council’s trading standards team has warned residents to be on their guard against a burglar alarm company using deceptive sales tactics.

The company has been targeting pensioners and other vulnerable people across Greater Manchester and using illegal high-pressure sales techniques to persuade them to sign up for new alarms for a small fee, which later turns out to be thousands of pounds.

The company begins by making a phone call offering a burglar alarm that can be connected for just £1, mentioning that there is an extra monitoring fee but will not say how much this is and also misleading consumers into thinking they are connected to the local council or the police and have a guaranteed response from the police. Where someone already has an alarm, the trader has been known to use scare tactics by saying statistics show an increase in crime in this area and that police do not attend to ordinary alarms.

One pensioner in another area of Greater Manchester was persuaded to spend nearly £10,000 on an alarm system after being initially told it was free. In another case a salesman remained in a pensioner’s home for 4 hours, only leaving at nearly 11 pm when the contract was signed. Trading Standards officers have now received information that this company is now targeting residents in Bolton with householders from the Tonge and Farnworth areas having reported them.

Councillor Nick Peel, Executive Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Regulations said: “This company is targeting vulnerable consumers and playing on people’s fears to sell overpriced alarm systems that are not needed.

“We would urge pensioners and their families to be on their guard. Don’t buy anything based on a cold call and if you intend to make a major purchase always research the market and get three quotes from reputable companies.”

“"We are committed to pursuing individuals or companies who use unscrupulous practices against the most vulnerable consumers and would urge anyone who is concerned about the business ethics of a company to contact Trading Standards on 08454 040506.”

Trading standards officers are currently investigating this complaint and for legal reasons the company cannot be named at this stage.

 

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