March 16, 2017
Trading Standards issue new warning to Burnham and Highbridge firms

Travelling traders offering tool sharpening services may be headed back to the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area, Trading Standards have warned this week.

Trading Standards say they are concerned that the traders will try to charge thousands of pounds for work that isn’t agreed.

They targeted businesses in Highbridge, Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater, Exeter, Dawlish, Frome and Shepton Mallet last year.

They offer to take a few tools to demonstrate their skill and provide an estimate before returning to take the tools to be sharpened. Several days later they return with the tools, and demand thousands of pounds from the business.

When the businesses, which include engineering and building firms, refuse to pay they make aggressive demands for the money in person, by phone and email and by causing serious disruption to the business.

The traders frequently change their business name and telephone numbers but their 'modus operandi' rarely changes. The paperwork provided appears legitimate and the company is registered in a foreign country.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader with Responsibility for Trading Standards, said: "We strongly advise businesses to only use trusted traders and not to agree to services offered by passing tradesmen. Businesses can find a list of approved and reputable traders in their area on our Buy with Confidence website."

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