Trading standard officers have issued a warning to residents about handing over cash to door knockers offering to write their will for money, following two incidents in Louth where elderly people have been targeted.
In the two incidents, the victims have given substantial amounts of cash to people who visited their homes.
Both cases have been highlighted by Lincolnshire law firm Bridge McFarland, whose solicitors have fought to get money returned.
In one case a stroke victim from Louth was pressured into paying for legal documents when someone called at her home.
She handed over a cheque for £2,500 and, though she tried to stop the cheque the next day, it had already been processed.
When she tried to cancel within the cooling off period, her attempts to get hold of the company failed.
She turned to Bridge McFarland and after the solicitors took the case to Small Claims Court she won her money and the court fees back.
A retired couple from a village near Manby were also visited by a will writing firm and persuaded to pay more than £5,000 for services.
In that case, solicitors from Bridge McFarland were able to recover half the money.
Trading standards officers have now issued advice to consumers when buying anything from doorstep salespersons calling at their homes:
• All agreements have a 14 day cooling off period.
• Legitimate businesses will have paperwork that identifies the company and details of the cooling off period.
• If you are in any doubt, do not agree to any offers.
• Do not hand over any money there and then.
Alan Griffin, Trading Standards officer, said: “We would encourage consumers to use a reputable will-writing company rather than one that resorts to cold-calling or doorstepping.
“If there is a problem with your will, it could cause emotional and financial distress including loss of income, children without care and property left in limbo.”
Patrick Purves, partner at Bridge McFarland, said: “In both these cases we were able to get all or some of the money returned but there could well be many more couples of vulnerable people who have handed over money.
“In cases such as these people are paying over the odds and no reputable solicitor would ask for money at the doorstep. We would urge all residents to be very careful about falling prey to these kinds of selling techniques and to seek out a reputable local solicitor.”