DEVON and Somerset Trading Standards are warning people to beware of unscrupulous traders offering carpet cleaning services.
The traders, some of whom operate nationally, normally make initial contact by phone, offering to clean carpets for a low or special price, often around £20 per room.
A card then arrives with a date for when the work will be carried out.
However, Trading Stan-dards officers say this is just a “foot in the door” tactic, and once inside the trader will say they have found additional problems, such as moth infestation, or suggest more intensive cleaning at a much higher price.
In some cases these charges have been reported to have risen to as much as £4,000.
Devon and Somerset County Councils, which are responsible for Tra-ding Standards, are concerned that the visits put unwanted pressure on householders who may agree to work they do not want.
Steve Gardiner, of Tra-ding Standards, said: “Don’t be tempted to agree to work offered through an unsolicited phone call of this nature.
“Reputable traders shouldn’t give a price over the phone without first carrying out an inspection.
“It’s always a good idea to get two or three quotes for any work you intend to carry out to your property, including carpet cleaning, to ensure that any price you agree to is fair and reasonable, and use local firms with good reputations.
“Ask friends and family for recommendations, or use a Buy With Con-fidence member, which are trades audited by Tra-ding Standards, and have agreed to trade fairly and honestly.
“To find a local business, visit the Buy With Confidence website at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk, or phone 01823- 357261 for a list of members.
“For further pre-shopping advice or to report a potential rogue trader, call the Citizen's Advice consumer helpline on 08454-040506.