Hampshire Trading Standards has received several reports of residents being cold called about blocked drains.

Exaggerated claims about the state of the drains may be made, and elaborate stories given as the reason for the call.

Offers to clear the drains are made, and sometime money is demanded up front.

Prices are often inflated, and may not given before the work is started.

Trading Standards advise residents not to agree to work that is instigated as a result of a cold call.

Residents should obtain at least 3 written quotes from reputable businesses or traders who are either members of the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Buy With Confidence Scheme or a recognised trade association.

Members of the Buy With Confidence scheme are fully audited to ensure their trading practices are legal, honest and fair.

All members have been checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws.

Details can be obtained by telephoning 01962 833620, emailing buy.with.confidence@hants.gov.uk or via the buy.with.confidence@hants.gov.uk.

Traders who agree work at the home of an individual or at a place other than their usual business premises are required by law to provide consumers with a Notice of Right to Cancel, which gives a 14 day cooling off period from the date the work starts.

Even if work has started, there is still a legal right to cancel, although some payment may be required for materials.

For non urgent enquires, or to inform Trading Standards about traders offering drainage services where false claims are suspected, report the matter to our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Please try to obtain a name and address for the company.

For urgent enquires or where work has been agreed too, contact Hampshire County Council’s Quick Response Team on 01962 833666 (Monday – Friday 0900hrs to 1700hrs), where specially trained officers are on hand to provide advice.

If assistance is required outside of these hours please contact Hampshire Police on their non-urgent number 101 or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.