A HELENSBURGH resident has warned vulnerable pensioners in the area to be wary of cold callers - after his elderly mother was persuaded to part with £5,000.

The man, who did not wish to be identified, said his mother, who is in her 70s, was coerced into paying for a paint job on her bungalow while still dealing with the loss of her husband.

He said: “My mother is in her 70s and has recently lost her husband, my father, so she is quite vulnerable.

“The salesman managed to talk her into painting the outside of her house, which is only a bungalow, for £5,000 and even managed to talk her into leaving a deposit of £960.

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“This is money which, as a pensioner, she doesn’t have.

“We’ve written to the company to try and get her deposit back and cancel the contract so we have to wait and see if that happens.

“I wouldn’t like to think how many other vulnerable people they’ve targeted in our town.

“This sort of behaviour is despicable.”

The woman’s son said he was concerned that others could fall into a similar trap and wants to raise awareness of the dangers of doorstep visits.

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He added: “My mum is not in the right mind to make these decisions. It’s not exactly a huge house and she was hoodwinked into handing over the money.

“I know salesmen can be very persuasive, but she’s on her pension and that was the last of her money after my dad died. It’s ridiculous that they could be targeting these types of people.

“She realised afterwards she had made a mistake and she was scared that she would be stuck in a contract, but hopefully we’ll be able to get the money back.

“I just want other people to be aware and not be talked into anything.”

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An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “Trading Standards advise that, before carrying out any work, traders must provide written details including their name and address, as well as the price and details of the work involved.

“Consumers must be given, in writing, a 14-day cooling-off period. The trader must not start work within 14 days without the customer’s written permission.

“If a member of the public believes a trader has behaved inappropriately, they should report the incident to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 1646000.”

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Area inspector Roddy MacNeill said: “Please be aware of bogus workers and cold callers.

“Any person offering to carry out work or repairs must provide a written contract for the proposed work which must legally include a 14-day cooling off period to cancel any previously agreed work.

“It is an offence not to provide said paperwork.

“Any resident concerned about workers at their, or another, property, please contact the police.”

More information about keeping safe from doorstep crime and bogus callers can be found at www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/