NOT THE STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF – AND THE TV SETS THAT ARE JUST BRICKS – Croydon trading standards officers warnings
PEOPLE ARE being warned not to buy mattresses from the back of a van labelled ‘Dreams’ and ‘home furnishings’ – and to avoid offers of i-phones and TV sets.
Buyers in central Croydon have quickly realised that the crisp new mattress for which they have just paid as much as £150 is anything but the bargain they had thought it was, says a Croydon council spokesman.
“Closer inspection has revealed that it is either an old mattress that has been re-covered to make it appear new; or it is a cheaply produced item that fails to meet UK safety standards and could be a deadly fire hazard.
“And, by the time the bargain hunters have realised that they have been conned, the van and its driver have disappeared from sight, leaving his victims stranded with a worthless product, out of pocket and with no means of seeking a refund.”
Croydon’s trading standards team has received a number of complaints about a man selling mattresses from the back of a van bearing “home furnishings” and “Dreams” markings on the bodywork.
“The team is satisfied that the van has no connection to the reputable Dreams bed dealership that trades only from fixed shop units and via online and telephone sales” the spokesman added.
Croydon’s trading standards team are also warning of “suspicious-looking people” attempting to sell what they claim are televisions from the back of a white Transit-type van.
And as well as the TV rip-off, town residents and shoppers have been targeted by a man, said to have an eastern European accent, selling Apple iPhones on the street.
Officers say people have been sold boxes which they believe contain a TV but are soon found to hold nothing but a pile of bricks, or, at best, a broken television.
And the bargain-priced iPhones are also often found to be non-functioning or in many cases, stolen from their legitimate owners and sold for a quick profit for the criminals involved, with the proceeds being used to finance further crimes.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice Cllr Mark Watson says: “The old adage that if something looks too good to be true, it invariably is, is particularly pertinent when applied to the purchase of goods from the back of a van, or from somebody who approaches you on the street.
“In addition to the fact that you never really know what it is you’re buying, when you get it home and find that you’ve bought either broken goods or a pile of rubble, you have absolutely no way of getting your money back.
“The best advice is to firmly say ‘No, thank you’ and walk away. “That way, you’ll not feel that you’ve been fooled – and you’ll still have your money in your pocket.”
Croydon council are anybody approached with the offer of cheap electrical goods to make a note of the seller’s description and as much information about his van, including registration number, as they safely can, and then please report the matter to the council’s trading standards team on 020 8407 1311 – as can anybody who has bought a mattress from such a vendor.
Alternatively, say Croydon, call the police.