Beware of digital TV cowboys

TELEVISION viewers in Northumberland have been warned to steer clear of cowboy contractors in the digital switch-over.

The UK’s terrestrial television system is changing from analogue to digital region by region until the end of the year, with the Tyne Tees area due to switch in September.

But Digital UK, the North East Trading Standards Association and Age UK are concerned that some unscrupulous traders will try to cash in on the change.

People are being urged to be wary of those trying to charge exorbitant fees for installing equipment or carrying out unnecessary work.

Digital UK regional manager John Askew said: “We’re determined to do all we can to protect consumers in Morpeth in the lead up to switch-over.

“There are always people who use clever and persuasive tactics to try to make a fast buck on the back of something new, like digital switch-over, and we want people to be aware.”

There is no such thing as a digital aerial and most existing equipment will continue to work after the change, but aerials in poor condition may need replacing. People can use the test card at Ceefax p284 for guidance, and some residents will qualify for a free aerial through the Switchover Help Scheme.

Anyone who needs a new aerial is advised to look for Registered Digital Installers, displaying the digital tick logo, which means they are approved and security checked.

If it is difficult to find a local RDI installer, look for one registered with the Confederation of Aerial Industries CAI Plus scheme.

Don’t agree to get work carried out by someone who calls without an appointment or fails to show identification and before any work starts, agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates. Don’t pay up front.

For a full list of RDI installers visit or call 08456 505050.

If you suspect you have been conned by a rogue trader contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.