Net closing in on rogue traders selling warranties

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A JOINT drive against rogue traders selling extended warranties over the phone for satellite TV equipment has been stepped up by West Sussex County Council Trading Standards Service, Sussex Police’s Serious Fraud Team and the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

More than one in ten of the total complaints received by the West Sussex Trading Standards Service relate to companies offering these warranties.

Most complaints concern prospective customers being misled during the course of telephone sales calls and include the caller:

n Falsely stating or implying they are from Sky.

n Falsely stating or implying they are the customer’s existing warranty provider or their existing warranty provider has ceased trading. This resulted in some people ending up with policies with two different companies.

n Taking unauthorised or incorrect payments from people.

n Selling policies to people who don’t even have satellite TV equipment.

Complaints against the companies based in West Sussex have dropped by 66 per cent since the drive was launched in July.

Some companies have been willing to work with Trading Standards and introduced changes to their sales scripts and procedures in order to address high levels of complaints.

“However, other companies will be subject to robust enforcement action if they do not improve their business practices,” said Graeme MacPherson, head of Trading Standards.

“If you do receive a telephone call from a company offering satellite equipment cover then it is important to establish who you are speaking to and whether they are reputable before deciding whether to take up the cover offered.

“If in any doubt, you should not give out your bank or credit card details. Tell the caller you will check your paperwork and call them back.If the company is legitimate they will have no objection to this.”

County cllr Peter Evans, said: “Our Trading Standards Service, along with Sussex Police and the FSA, is determined to stamp out fraud in this sector.

“This campaign is a firm warning to rogue warranty companies that the net is closing in on them.”