Are you ready to go digital

GIVE rogue traders a poor reception – that’s the message to householders across East Dunbartonshire ahead of a massive TV shake-up.

People are warned to be on their guard against cowboy contractors charging exorbitant fees for installing equipment or carrying out unnecessary work.

TV in the UK is going digital, with local transmitters switching over from analogue in May and June.

Digital UK – the independent, not-for-profit organisation – has teamed up with East Dunbartonshire’s Trading Standards Service to offer advice:

* There is no such thing as a digital aerial. If you get a good analogue picture now, your existing aerial should be fine for digital.

* You will need to buy a digital box – such as Freeview, which involves a one-off payment of around £25 – or subscribe monthly to a provider such as Sky or Virgin.

* With some very rare exceptions, any TV can be converted with a digital box, even a black and white set.

* Use the test card at Ceefax p284 for guidance on whether you need a new aerial. If so, look for a Registered Digital Installer.

* No-one from Digital UK or the Switchover Help Scheme will go to your home without an appointment offering to sell goods or services.

* Before work starts, agree the price and start/finish dates. Don’t pay up front.

* If you suspect you have been ripped off, or there is a rogue trader in your area, call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or the council’s Trading Standards team on 0141 578 8813.

Households in East Dunbartonshire and North Glasgow are likely to receive their TV signal from either the Darvel or Blackhill transmitter groups.

The Darvel transmitter will be switching over on May 11 and May 25, while Blackhill will be moving on June 8 and 22.

Councillor Amanda Stewart, convener of the council’s housing and community services committee, said: “We want to protect vulnerable and elderly consumers and make sure they’re given the right advice and support – whether it’s from retailers, service providers or installers.”

There is a Switchover Help Scheme offering practical assistance for people aged over 75 and those eligible for certain benefits.

If you have any questions call the Digital UK advice line on 08456 50 50 50.