Alerts from Trading Standards
Baddesley Ensor and Baxterley
Householders are warned to beware of a tarmac gang operating locally. The gang are claiming to be affiliated to the Highways Agency and sub-contracted by Warwickshire County Council - these claims are untrue.
The gang are claiming to have a van filled with tarmac which the traders claim they cannot return to the yard with so will sell it for £15m2 rather than £50 m2 . One family had their drive resurfaced and the bill, estimated to be £300 came in at £5000. The householders was also subject to intimidation when they queried the bill.
Prize Notification - Stratford upon Avon
Consumers have contacted the service after receiving letters that suggest that they have been allocated winnings of £10,000. At the bottom of the letter is a pretend cheque for that amount and recipients are asked to phone a 090 number to claim. Consumers are warned however that this is in fact a premium rate line 'competition', and that the cost of the call (a maximum of around £10) may be more than the value of any 'prize' the consumer receives. There is for example only one £10,000 prize. Responding to these letters may also increase the number of similar letters you receive in the future.
Credit Card Scam - All Warwickshire
A consumer contacted the service to relay a scam they had become aware of. A consumer receives a call from someone claiming to work for "VISA" or "MasterCard". They claim to be calling from the Security and Fraud Department and give a badge number. They then tell you that your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and that they are calling to verify. They ask if you purchased an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £249.99 from a Marketing company based in (name of any town or city). When the consumer says no the caller says that they have been watching this company and that the your account will be re-credited. They then give your address and ask for confirmation and then tell you a six digit number you are required to repeat back to them. This gives the consumer a false sense of security that they are talking to a genuine person and encourages them to provide information.
They then ask you to turn over your card and ask you to read out the three security numbers you would normally use when you make Internet purchases, to 'verify you are the possessor of the card'. It is at this point that the fraud occurs because by obtaining the three numbers on the back of your card, (and with all the other information the fraudsters will have already obtained), they can use your card to make Internet purchases. This type of fraud is thought likely to increase as chip and pin makes face to face payment fraud more difficult. Never reveal any personal/financial information to anyone who phones you.
Pressure On For Air Line Gauge Accuracy!
It is very important for the overall safety of your vehicle that your car tyres are correctly inflated. Most drivers will use petrol forecourt tyre pressure gauges - but what about if you are concerned that the tyre pressure reading is inaccurate?
One Warwickshire driver called upon Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service to investigate after he became concerned that a tyre pressure gauge he had used at a petrol station in Warwick was grossly inaccurate. This led Trading Standards Officers to undertake a testing project to find out if this was a common problem or an isolated case.
There are three main reasons why maintaining the right tyre pressure is important. The first is safety. Tyres that are under inflated can overheat; while over inflated tyres can lead to poor handling on the road.
The second reason is cost-efficiency. Over or under inflated tyres suffer more damage than those with the correct pressure and need to be replaced more regularly. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres also require more fuel to maintain the same speed.
The third reason for maintaining the correct tyre pressure is that it helps to extend the legal life of the tyre, saving you time and money. This is because a tyre with the correct tyre pressure avoids premature or uneven wear.
A Trading Standards Officer visited 24 petrol station forecourts across the county, and examined the accuracy of the airline machines at each location using an accurate test gauge. Seventeen airlines passed the tests conducted on them whilst a further five airlines were found to be out of order.
However, two air line machines, or 8% of the total number tested were found to be very inaccurate. The two petrol stations were located in Warwick and Bedworth and with the cooperation of both businesses the air line machines have now been taken out of service.
At the Bedworth garage the air line machine was so inaccurate that when its gauge read 20 psi, the correct reading was actually 80 psi!
Noel Hunter, Director of Warwickshire Trading Standards Service said:
“Ensuring the accuracy of weighing and measuring equipment is one of our services traditional roles. However, even in today’s modern and fast moving society it still has a crucial role to play in helping to ensure that consumers are safe, protected, and not ripped off!”
Further work is now planned for the future.
Warwickshire consumers concerned about the accuracy of any type of weighing and measuring equipment used to delivery goods or services can contact Warwickshire Trading Standards Service on 01926 414040.