Cold calling…. and it is cold…. and wet.

To call or not to call what would you do?

All businesses must market their wares.

Cold calling is not illegal but the legalities became complicated.

Gypsy people, as an ethnic group, are not rogue traders.

Most of us do good work for a fair price and do not prey on the vulnerable, but can be vulnerable ourselves.

My experience of cold calling works like this….

The ads are in the papers.

The leaflets are through the doors.

 Dotcom have charged me a fortune to put me on line.

The phone isn’t ringing.

There is no work to do and no money to be earned. Times are tight. We need money to eat and feed the children.

What do you do? Sit tight? Sign on? Get out and get pro-active? Put your last twenty in the tank of the lorry and knock on a few doors?

What would you do to get some bread on the table?

Drive round the houses looking for a bit of garden rubbish to take away. A dead tree to take down, a hedge that needs to be cut.

All the while, watching the diesel gauge sink lower and lower.  

So you knock on a door; stand well back, smile and with a ‘sorry to disturb you’ ask for the work. Don’t push: point out the job and ask if they’d like a quote.

If they say no; back off, politely.

If they display a notice telling you not to call; then don’t.

Sensibly, ask a price that’s fair to both parties; if you’re getting desperate, ask for whatever you can get – anything to fuel up the lorry and carry on.

In this economic climate, we are susceptible to rogue customers, who know quite well that we call because we need the work and then beat us down on an already reasonable price.

We do it because we have to.

On the other hand, we have people we work for year after year as a result of cold calling at their door and people who tip us and extra few per cent because we’ve been more than fair and we do a good job.

Even settled people need to cold call at times, Gypsy or not.

In all businesses, no matter how well you prepare, there will be some lean times. The phone won’t ring. Then what do you do? Starve? Sign on? Beg?

Marketing must be paid for. Tools must be maintained and replaced. Waste disposal costs are high and the Waste Carriers licence and insurance must be paid and up to date.  Vehicles must be legal to use the Public Highway. The Chancellor takes his dues and then you must pay to live. Contrary to what some people believe, we pay income tax, council tax and VAT just like everyone else.

The more incendiary press would have people believe that we have some vast hidden resource of ill-gotten gains.

 We don’t, we struggle through just like everyone else.

 This is what Consumer Education Resource and Information Centre have to say about cold calling. These rules apply to any called job of £35 or more. (The Upper Case is theirs.)

I’ll certainly forgive you if you can’t be bothered to read right through…. Nice pay-off at the end though.

 BEWARE of traders who do not provide landline telephone numbers on their flyers.

BEWARE of traders who do not provide you with the proper name of the business and a full address for the business advertised on the flyer.

BEWARE of traders who only provide a mobile telephone number on their flyers.

When traders turn up unexpectedly on your doorstep seeking work or to sell you goods, they must provide you with NOTICE IN WRITING of your right to cancel. You have 7 days in which you can change your mind and cancel the contract. It is a criminal offence if you are not provided with this notice.

Any reputable trader will provide with written notice of your legal rights.

BEWARE of traders that don’t do this.

 That’s a lot of ‘bewares’.

 To the Trader:

If you sell products and services worth over £35 to a customer on their doorstep, you must let them know in writing they have the right to cancel within 7 days. You must include certain information in the ‘Notice of the Right to Cancel’.

Notice of the Right to Cancel:

You must give this document to the customer when the contract is made. It must:

be either a separate document or in a prominent separate box on the contract with the heading ‘Notice of the Right to Cancel’

state that the customer has at least 7 calendar days to cancel the contract have a detachable cancellation form with your contact details that the customer can fill in and return to you

 For contracts where work or services start within the 7 days, you must get written authorisation to start. The notice must also state that the customer must pay a reasonable amount for goods or services covered by the contract before any cancellation.

 Penalties:

Failure to provide a valid notice is a criminal offence. If convicted the trader and/or their business could be fined up to £5,000

 Exceptions

These regulations won’t apply to you if you make a solicited visit to a customer for regulated finance plans such as mortgages and consumer credit agreements.

insurance contracts

contracts relating to shares and investments.

 So the world of finance gets off the hook.

 

Only wanted to do your hedge for forty quid, Guv.  

Read your rights, sign here, if you’re not too busy….. oh….

Or shall we just leave it then?

 

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