Trading Standards have issued a warning following elderly people being scammed by rogue door-to-door fish sellers.
According to the Trading Standards department at Lancashire County Council (LCC) this is a persistent problem in the county, particularly in Chorley, Leyland, Lancaster and Preston, and more recently the Ribble Valley, with lots of residents being scammed into either buying more fish than they want or paying over the odds for it.
The amounts paid for fish vary from £8 for a tray to more than £400 for seven trays with the price often increasing for the elderly .
“On several occasions the packers’ labels have been removed before sale, so consumers do not know species or use-by dates,” explained an LCC Trading Standards spokesman.
“The sellers questioned so far are from the North East. They often stay locally overnight until the van’s contents are sold, even if the vans are unrefrigerated. Hence 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.”
Paul Noone, head of Trading Standards for LCC, said: “The best place to buy fish is from a local fishmonger at an established shop or stall or from a regular local roundsman. We would advise residents never to deal with unknown cold-callers on their doorstep. If residents have paid more than agreed by credit or debit card, they should notify their bank of the fraud. If the fish is mis-sold or unwanted, and the seller or packer is known, they should send an immediate letter of cancellation requesting that the trader collects the frozen fish and provides a refund.”
Anyone with concerns about doorstep callers in their area should call Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.