Warning to elderly after buyers lose thousands in high pressure sales

Mobility furniture is useful, but don't be pushed into buying at home.
Mobility furniture is useful, but don't be pushed into buying at home.

South Lanarkshire Trading Standards have issued a warning over high pressure sales tactics targeting older people after buyers in Lesmahagow and Cambuslang lost thousands of pounds.

Both cases involved a Felixstowe-based company, which has since gone into administration, but had previously been prosecuted by Suffolk Trading Standards in 2013 and 2015.

One of the victims contacted the firm, Westminster Recliners, to enquire about a mobility recliner chair after seeing an advert in the Radio Times.

"A representative from Westminister Recliners turned up at their door without an appointment, a common tactic among rogue traders designed to catch people alone and unprepared," said Trading Standards.

"There is evidence that high pressure selling was used to persuade the consumer to pay £4,898."

When the chair arrived it was totally unsuitable; a physiotherapist confirmed it was the wrong size for the buyer. An email was sent to cancel the order and the chair was uplifted by the trader, but no money was refunded and the firm went into administration.

In the second a couple were persuaded to pay a £2,000 deposit for a bed with massage function and a remote control.

The bed was never delivered and the money has not been returned. Sadly the husband has since passed away.

The Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor John Anderson, said: “Westminister Recliners has gone into administration but we believe those involved have links to another trader working in the same field.

"In addition the aggressive and manipulative sales tactics they used are common among rogue traders.

“We would always advise people to have a family member, friend or neighbour present when a salesperson calls.

"Reputable companies will not turn up unannounced and will have no objection to consumers, particularly the elderly or vulnerable, having someone present to support them.”

Trading Standards continue to investigate Westminster Recliners and recommend that anyone in dispute should contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline on 0345 040506.

If complainants are wishing to obtain a refund, and have paid using a debit card, South Lanarkshire Trading Standards recommends they contact their bank for assistance in obtaining a refund via the chargeback facility.