Businesses advised to be on their guard for tool sharpening scam

Posted on: 15 March 2017

Itinerant traders offering tool sharpening services may be headed back to Devon and Somerset warn Trading Standards.

The concern is that they will try to charge thousands of pounds for work that isn’t agreed.

The men have recently approached businesses in Suffolk , and seem to be following the same method of operation in the Southwest.

They targeted businesses in Exeter, Dawlish, Frome, Shepton Mallet, Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater and Highbridge last year.

They offer to take a few tools to demonstrate their skill and provide an estimate before returning to take the tools to be sharpened.

Several days later they return with the tools,  and demand thousands of pounds from the business.

When the businesses, which include engineering and building firms, refuse to pay they make aggressive demands for the money in person, by phone and email and by causing serious disruption to the business.

The traders frequently change their business name and telephone numbers but their modus operandi rarely changes.

The paperwork provided appears legitimate and the company is registered in a foreign country.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, said:

“If you run a business or firm that is likely to use power tools or other blades, be on your guard. If you are approached, we advise you decline the offer of the service and report the incident to Trading Standards or the Police.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader with Responsibility for Trading Standards, said:

“We strongly advise businesses to only use trusted traders and not to agree to services offered by passing tradesmen. Businesses can find a list of approved and reputable traders in their area on our Buy with Confidence website.”

If a business has been affected by this scam contact Trading Standards on 01392 381381 for Devon businesses or 0300 123 2224 if based in Somerset. Alternatively call the Police on 101

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