Wigan Council warns of bogus damage claim scams

Wigan Council has uncovered a new type of doorstep con
Wigan Council has uncovered a new type of doorstep con

A growing number of Wigan Council tenants are being conned into making dubious and costly damages claims against the town hall.

The local authority issued a warning today about cold call tricksters as it reported seeing a “significant increase” in the number of housing disrepair allegations being made which don’t stand up in court.

Investigation agents prey on unwilling tenants living in council-owned properties and encourage them to take out damages claims for alleged defects in their home with the lure of increasing their bank balance when in reality they could be left picking up an expensive legal bill.

The cold callers fail to tell residents about the extortionate rates they charge and once a contract is signed, the tenant is left in the hands of the court when it comes to who pays the legal costs.

The council says that not everyone who calls at your door is who they seem. So, residents should always be on their guard.

It is encouraging them to inform the council about any potential repairs that may be needed within their properties and we have a dedicated repairs team happy to assist and arrange repairs if necessary.

Teams within the council have recently undergone extensive training and are using new specialist equipment which helps them carry out tasks more efficiently and timely.

The repairs team have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience and have a passion for ensuring they carry out an efficient and effective repairs service for all of our tenants.

The authority said that they will treat your home with respect and also provide a 24 hour emergency repairs service should you need this.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s director for environment, said: “We would urge all tenants to come direct to us if they have an issue with their property.

“Our repairs service has gone under a transformation programme and we are never better prepared to respond efficiently and effectively.

“Despite what cold callers will tell residents, they are only in it for themselves with a desire to drag out legal cases as long as feasibly possible with the expensive rates they charge.”

The responsibility for maintaining and repairing the council’s tenanted properties lies with the authority as landowner and once notified teams will be deployed to carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time.

But the time and resources the town hall is now having to deploy for cases brought forward by cold callers with unscrupulous tactics is having knock-on detrimental effects.

While it may seem too good to be true at the start, it’s really important to realise that any claim that does not win will result in the tenant picking up the legal costs and mean they are much larger financial trouble.

These cases can often be fragile with the council’s in-house repair teams keeping detailed records of every repair undertaken.