TRADING Standards officers are warning businesses to be on the alert for a new scam.
The Cheshire officers say small businesses and retailers are being targeted by con artists posing as Health & Safety Executive officials.
Firms have been incorrectly told they need to have all portable electrical items on the premises tested by the callers, at cost of about £200.
They are further told that any electrical tests carried out by the trader’s own electrician could be worthless and their insurance could be “null and void” if they don’t obtain electrical test certificates from them.
Trading Standards have advised that, while there is a legal requirement to have portable electrical equipment tested, it does not have to be done by any particular company.
Officer Paul Barrow explained: “Neither has the Health & Safety Executive appointed or approved anybody to visit businesses to test electrical equipment.”
If test certificates for electrical appliances are needed, they advise you to shop around and obtain several quotes from appropriately qualified local electricians.
Mr Barrow added: “If businesses have any queries or require information about Health & Safety legal requirements for electrical equipment they should contact their local district or unitary council health and safety team – usually within the environmental health service.
“Anybody who has doubts about the legitimacy of a company making unsolicited visits to them should take as many details as they can and contact Cheshire Trading Standards on 01244 973708.
“They certainly should not agree to any work being carried out there and then, and should not part with any money. If they have signed up they should ring Trading Standards for advice as soon as possible.”
County Councillor Nora Dolphin, executive member for community and communications said: “Here is yet another underhand attempt to defraud money from honest traders.”