In the wake of the devastation caused by Storm Frank last week, SNP Councillor Geva Blackett - who represents some of the worst hit communities in her Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside Ward – has urged people not to unwittingly fall victim to unscrupulous people who may seek to exploit their current plight.
Cllr Blackett said: “Can I please urge everyone to be really cautious. There are hundreds and hundreds of very genuine offers of help around but lurking in those offers may be opportunists looking to make a quick buck while folk are trying to cope in a very emotional time.
“In particular, people should be wary of anyone cold-calling offering ‘on the spot’ home improvements, so-called ‘special offers’, or claiming that their property is unsafe and requiring urgent attention.
“I’d urge people not to sign up to anything that might land them with a financial commitment without first taking proper advice and making sure that they have obtained at least three written quotes from reputable local traders. If in doubt, people should ask the opinion of their insurance company, or a trusted person such as a friend or family member.
“Elderly or vulnerable neighbours are particularly at risk of unscrupulous tradesmen, so I’d urge people to be good neighbours and contact Aberdeenshire Council’s trading standards department if they suspect anything untoward.
“Trading Standards, alongside Citizens Advice, can provide help and advice with a range of issues following flood damage.
“Trading standards can be contacted on 01467 628323, while the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 is a source of free and impartial advice on your legal rights in the event of a dispute, and can refer complaints to trading standards for further help if required.”
Further information on Trading Standards can be found online ataberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/trading-standards
Further information on consumer rights can be found at citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/consumer
There is further useful advice about insurance problems on the Citizens Advice website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/debt-and-money/insurance/problems-with-insurance-policies.