Fish sellers targeting elderly on doorstep

Janice Hanson.
Janice Hanson.
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Trading Standards are warning residents to beware of high pressure salesmen trying to persuade them to buy hundreds of pounds worth of fish.

The traders from the North East have recently been selling door to door in Morecambe, Garstang, Poulton and Elswick, asking residents, including elderly people, if they would like to buy some fish.

Householders believe they are only buying a few pieces but are then presented with freezer-filling quantities, and have reported feeling pressurised into handing over large amounts of cash of up to four hundred pounds.

Officers are concerned that the sellers will soon target other towns within the county and are asking people to be on the alert.

The purchaser has no way of knowing how the fish has been stored or whether it is safe to eat, and a lack of cancellation rights or a receipt makes it difficult to sort out any problems afterwards.

These traders originate outside of Lancashire and the absence of a receipt makes it difficult, or impossible, to trace them.

County Councillor Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection, said: “The best place to buy fish is from a reputable fishmonger at an established shop or stall or from a regular roundsman. You are taking a risk by buying on the doorstep from an unknown trader as this fish may be of poor quality or be unfit to eat. “Several elderly consumers in Lancashire have been misled into thinking they are buying a few pounds worth of fish, then feel pressurised into having to pay an enormous bill and accept more fish than their freezers can take.

“We would advise residents never to deal with cold-callers on their doorstep.”

Each year Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards Service deals with over 550 complaints about bogus callers from elderly and vulnerable residents.

Consumers are warned not to deal with any uninvited salespeople.

Anyone with concerns about doorstep callers in their area should call Consumer Direct on 03454 04 05 06.