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Warning over door-to door fish seller scam


12:00am 30th July 2011

City of York Council Trading Standards is warning residents after receiving a number of complaints from victims of a door-to-door fish seller scam.

The complainants, mostly elderly, have reported being cold-called at home by sellers of what they were told was fresh fish. Victims report being approached by two or three men in a small van. The salesman carries a basket of fresh fish and goes door-to-door showing customers his fish.

Customers are offered ‘Pensioner Packs’ and ‘Freezer Packs’ but are not told how much fish this is or how much it will cost. Sellers have reported that these packs are about the size of two loaves of bread. One of the gang will then fill up the victim’s freezer with approximately two-dozen packs of 400g fish and then demand about £200 in cash and cheques. 

When customers have tried to cook the fish they have discovered that many of the packs are not labeled and the fish is inedible. 

Paul Wetherall, Trading Standards officer at City of York Council, warned:

“ We have recently received a number of complaints off aggressive selling of overpriced, un-labeled and often inedible fish. We believe the fish may have been previously frozen and then thawed out before being sold as fresh. We are concerned that several unscrupulous fish sellers are currently targeting the York area and wish to alert residents to this scam."

How you can protect yourself:

1) Customers should check that the fish is labeled with the name and address of the packer, the name of the fish, a ‘use by’ date and the net weight.

2) Consumers who agree to buy goods worth more than £35 at home must be given a notice telling them that they have seven days to cancel the contract.”

Cllr Sandy Fraser, Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety, said:

" I urge all York residents who have any experienced of this kind of sharp sales practice to tell York’s Trading Standards by telephoning consumer Direct on 08454 040506.”

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