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Warning after woman, 88, pays £1,000 to doorstep traders

PUBLISHED: 07:55 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:48 06 July 2010

Older people are being warned to be alert to doorstep traders after an 88-year-old woman was persuaded to part with more than £1,000 to get rid of salesmen who spent four hours in her home.

Older people are being warned to be alert to doorstep traders after an 88-year-old woman was persuaded to part with more than £1,000 to get rid of salesmen who spent four hours in her home.

The case came to light after the woman, who lives in Kessingland, near Lowestoft, told staff at a day centre in Beccles that she was worried about getting her money back after sitting through a lengthy sales pitch and eventually buying a bath lift.

Fortunately she managed to reclaim the £1,050 she had paid after working with trading standards, but now officers are warning older people to be vigilant against high-pressure salesmen.

Nicki Fountain, manager at The Dell residential home in Beccles, reported the incident to police and trading standards after staff told her that the woman, who often visits the day centre at the home, had seemed out of sorts and worried after paying for the lift.

She said: “They had telephoned to make an appointment and she had thought that they were from the NHS and offering free equipment.

“She told us that she gave them the money to get rid of them. She is a very astute lady but she just assumed it was someone from the hospital coming out to see whether she wanted any mobility equipment. It's really sad and she was very upset about it.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council's trading standards team said once the incident had been reported, officers were able to contact the company and arrange for a full refund.

She said: “Trading standards are warning older residents to be on their guard for salesmen and women peddling mobility aids, scooters and beds.

“Targeting the old and vulnerable, they prey on people's good nature and politeness, often staying in their home for house to secure a sale.”

She added: “Trading standards are aware that this is just the latest in a number of similar sales. They are currently carrying out further investigation on these mobility companies and working with other trading standards teams across the country on future legal action.”

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