Householders are being urged to take care when they get visits from firms or individuals offering to repair their driveway.

The warning comes after Great Horton resident Riasat Ali answered the door to a man who said he could resurface his driveway for £550.

"He did one or two in the road and then knocked on our door and said he could do ours," he said.

"He said he would put down hardcore and then an inch of bitumen. It looked all right at first but you should see the mess it is now. It isn't an inch thick and it has lifted in some places and come away - it's terrible.

"He left me a business card which had DJ Murphy on it and a mobile number but no address.

"It said his firm had been established since 1948 and all the work was guaranteed for 15 years.

"But when I phoned to complain and ask him to come back and re-do it, he said it was not his problem and then he became abusive."

West Yorkshire Trading Standards officer Bruce McKay said householders should be wary of itinerant traders who knock on the door and only operate from mobile phones. "You should always know who you are dealing with," he said.

"That way if there is a problem afterwards you can contact them and get it solved.

"If all you have is a name and a mobile phone number, it isn't going to help you later.

"There is no way an individual can get an address from a mobile phone number - the person could be operating from the other side of the country. It is also important to get a written quote from the person - and then get some from other contractors.

"The message is always to use a reputable company and asked for the address of previous customers so you can go round and talk to them and see what the company's standard of work is like.

"We all know the price will be right with some people - and everyone likes to think they are getting a bargain.

"But life is not really like that and you can finish up paying out far more in the long run than you would have done."

When Rights and Wrongs tried to phone the mobile number, it was not in use.

The salesman in a tearing hurry...

Shopper Rosalin Fontaine was furious when a sales assistant ripped up her cheque, claiming the signature did not match her credit card.

She had gone into the shop in Bradford city centre and had picked the item she wanted to buy.

"I went to the till and wrote out a cheque and handed it to him with the cheque card," she said.

"He compared the signatures and then ripped the cheque up.

"It was so humiliating because the shop was full of people.

"He said it wasn't my cheque card and cheque book.

"I told him to ring the bank or look at other cards I had with my signature on them but he said he didn't have to do that."

She says she has since received an apology from the shop but she added: "He didn't have the right to tear the cheque up".

A West Yorkshire Trading Standards spokesman said: "When goods are on display they are known as an invitation to treat.

"It is up to the customer to go to the retailer with the item and make an offer to buy the goods - when they take them to the till. The retailer then has to make the decision whether he is prepared to accept that offer to buy.

"In this case what the customer has said is I want to buy this item and I want to pay by cheque.

"The shop has said I don't want to do business with you and - and he doesn't have to give a reason."

A spokesman for the national Consumer Association said: "I don't know if there is anything in law about who owns the cheque.

"It couldn't have been used again but he shouldn't have ripped it up - it's just a matter of good manners."

Legal assistant Julie Soothill, of Bradford firm Reads Solicitors, said: "From looking at the legislation, the shop can refuse the cheque - which is considered the same as cash - but they are not entitled to tear it up.

"It actually belongs to the bank and it should have been handed back to Mrs Fontaine."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.