Don’t get cleaned out

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What mysteries lurk under the carpet?

In well-off towns like Rye and Winchelsea, good cleaners are at something of a premium. If you’re looking for one, it’s great if you can get a personal recommendation. After all, cleaners are given largely unsupervised access to your home, so you need some reassurance. But what do you do if you cannot get a personal recommendation? The chances are that you will probably look for a cleaning company. But should we be asking, how safe are some of these companies?

Last month, Winchelsea Neighbourhood Watch was given a letter that was delivered to a house in the town but addressed to someone other than the householder. The householder has lived at this address for over 30 years and did not recognise the name of the addressee as anyone who has lived in the town over that period. In addition to the unknown addressee, the letter was also addressed to a Winchelsea cleaning company, which is similarly unknown in the town in which it supposedly based.

Winchelsea Neighbourhood Watch did a bit of detective work. They searched for the cleaning company on the internet and found a website which claims the company is based in Winchelsea at the address of the mystified householder who received the letter. They also found an identical website for the same company but with the name of Winchelsea replaced by Rye. This ‘Rye-based’ company was located at a residential address in Rye and the name given of the manager. However, enquiries in Rye established that the house owned by an elderly lady no longer in residence, whose affairs are being managed by local solicitors.

The cleaning companies are registered and they belong to an industry association, although all of them are newly registered companies. The next step was to phone the number on the website, which had a Folkestone code.

Winchelsea Neighbourhood Watch has passed the details of the two cleaning companies to the police and Trading Standards. However, they noted that the name of the Winchelsea company is already circulating in the town among residents looking for cleaners.