Shops on alert over cold caller

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Latest news.

Shopkeepers in Morecambe are being warned about high pressure sales tactics.

The alert comes after small independent retailers in the Morecambe area were cold called by a salesman offering to produce a fire safety risk assessment for the shop.

The retailers were threatened with fines of thousands of pounds if they did not have an assessment in place, and were put under pressure to sign up immediately.

Lancashire County Council’s trading standards team, Lancashire police and the Lancashire fire service have since visited shopkeepers and advising them to say a firm no when faced with high pressure selling tactics. Leaflets have also been distributed.

Janice Hanson, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for consumer protection and waste, said: “What this shows is that businesses can be as much at risk of cold callers and high pressure selling as householders.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service advises retailers to do their own research before agreeing to buy a written fire risk assessments. In certain circumstances, some small retailers can carry out their own risk assessment.

Lee Munday, Lancashire fire and rescue safety team leader, said: “We have a duty to provide free advice on what is required in order to comply with fire safety legislation and readily do so. It is quite wrong for a salesman to suggest that a fine will be imposed if the proprietor does not engage his services to draft up a fire risk assessment, since enforcing the law is our job and imposing a penalty for non-compliance would only be taken as a last resort.”