Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team is warning the public to be on their guard when it comes to signing credit agreements for home improvements.
Trading standards has received several complaints from consumers regarding particular home improvement company salespeople. These salespeople visit your home to quote for potential work and then encourage householders to sign up to credit agreements that they do not fully understand.
One local consumer, a 78 year old lady, was given a ten year credit agreement with an APR of 27.2%. The original cash price for the work was £5000; but under the agreement she would end up paying the company £13,172.80 in total. She had no idea that what was she was signing for was in fact a credit agreement.
Another gentleman was told by the sales rep that if he signed up to a credit agreement he would be given six months of interest free payments. At that time the gentleman had the money to pay off the balance in full, but was advised that he would benefit from a discount if he signed the Credit Agreement. After six months passed, the gentleman called up to pay off the balance for the work done and found that interest had in fact been charged during the supposedly interest free period.
Chair of the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee Councillor Daniel Kelly said, “When a consumer signs a contract in their home they are entitled to a cancellation period of seven days. This starts as soon as they are given the cancellation notice. It is an offence for a company or trader to enter into a contract under these conditions if they do not provide the consumer with such a cancellation notice. If a consumer cancels the contract within the notice period this automatically cancels any Credit Agreements attached to it. However if you cancel the credit agreement after the cancellation period, they will be liable for the cost of the work done. If you are not sure what you are signing then don’t sign.”
Anyone who need more advice on credit agreements should contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506 or Trading Standards on 01546 604 404.