Hertfordshire Trading Standards is warning businesses to be on their guard
against cold calling companies.

It follows a number of complaints from Hertfordshire firms which have been visited by a
representative of a company testing tap water in washrooms and staff kitchens.

Businesses targeted assumed that the engineers are from the council or water supplier
and acting in an official capacity. However, it is a commercial company and the engineers
are cold calling.

They usually collect some water samples and then ask an employee to sign paperwork
on their way out. This is then followed by an invoice, often for £808, which relates to
numerous tests carried out on the samples taken.

Guy Pratt, Assistant Director for Community Protection at Hertfordshire County Council,
said: "It is not illegal to offer commercial water testing services to those who want it, but
we are concerned that businesses felt misled and have not agreed to pay for this
service."

Businesses which have received invoices from this company and have not agreed to the
service should write back to the firm and point out:

• that you did not ask them to visit;
• that they may have implied, and you assumed, that they were acting in an official
capacity and because of this you allowed them to take water samples;
• that you did not agree to pay for this and will not pay the bill;
• that the person who signed the paperwork was not authorised to enter into contracts
on behalf of the firm (if appropriate);
• that you will strongly defend any action they take to recover money via the county
court; and
• that you have complained to Trading Standards.

Hertfordshire businesses wishing to complain or seek further advice should contact
Hertfordshire Trading Standards on 01707 292429 or tradingstandards@hertscc.gov.uk