RESIDENTS have been expressing concern about two salesmen visiting offices in Lagos and Praia da Luz offering fire extinguisher maintenance services at extortionate prices.
Last August, a number of cases were reported in the north of Portugal, where four men were targeting pharmacies, hairdressers and shops, charging hundreds of euros to carry out routine fire extinguisher maintenance.
It now appears that the same people are operating in the Algarve. In recent weeks, they have been spotted in several parts of Lagos along the Avenida das Descobrimentos.
No arrests were made in connection to last summer’s scam, but the description released at the time by the Diário de Aveiro newspaper matches many of the residents’ descriptions of the men seen going into their buildings. The two men are said to be Portuguese, in their mid 30s, dark haired with a “shady disposition”.
Upon entering they usually ask to speak with whoever is in charge of safety saying that their fire extinguishers need immediate maintenance, installment or refilling.
All of the offices and shops The Resident spoke with had a specific company that deal with their extinguishers so did not fall for their sales strategies.
In the majority of cases the men were not successful in gaining any business, but were spotted taking away a set of extinguishers close to the Lagos Avenida, suggesting they had attained at least one client.
In the reported cases last year, they were accused of producing several invoices to their clients, in one case charging 162 euros for routine maintenance.
In many cases payment was made by cheque, once clients realised they had been duped the cheques were cancelled. The cost of refilling a fire extinguisher is roughly five euros. The men involved claim to work for a company called Interchama. The company has now taken its website off the internet. They are also listed in the yellow pages under the name Interchama – Prevenção e Combate de Incendios Lda based in Lisbon and Odivelas.
When the company came under the spotlight last year, they insisted the men were not working for them and sent out a list identifying all members of staff.
The Resident tried to contact Interchama, but the advertised phone number was out of service.
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