Trading Standards warn of health products scam

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service'David Lodge, head of WYTS.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service'David Lodge, head of WYTS.

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West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service has warned consumers to be wary of traders claiming that they have won a free holiday in a prize draw by just completing a health survey.

The service says it has received a number of complaints from consumers who have received telephone calls and subsequent home visits from companies offering free holiday vouchers in return for them participating in a ‘health product survey’.

Whilst in the consumers’ homes they conduct a high pressure sales pitch providing dubious information relating to the health benefits of a range of air filters and water purifiers at highly inflated prices.

In the majority of cases it is elderly people who are being targeted by these rogue traders and who fall victim to these techniques.

In a recent case an elderly Bradford lady paid over £1,500 after agreeing to the fitting of a water purifier to her shower head after previously purchasing an air purifier from the same company.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibit false and misleading claims about products and false claims that a prize has been won when it does not exist or there is cost associated with claiming that prize.

They also protect against use of harassment, coercion or undue influence to sell products and services.

David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, said: “The best advice is not to do business on the doorstep, also proceed with caution if called by a trader offering anything described as free.

“Participation in a survey is often employed as a technique to generate sales visits.”

Coun Andrew Pinnock, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “Please be on your guard before you sign any contracts with doorstep traders offering inducements for health products. If you do sign remember the law gives you 14 days to cancel.”

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is investigating and would like to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to this scam.

Call the Citizen Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.