ladder gang
n. A roofing or painting company that calls on houses door-to-door and attempts to dupe homeowners into undergoing expensive and unnecessary repairs.

Example Citations:
"Not being an old-age pensioner with failing eyesight and faltering pins, I had never before heard of ladder gangs. These people, I discovered, drive vans decorated with enough ladders to scale the taller bits of the coast of Normandy, and seek out gullible houseowners to persuade them of the need for vital roofing repairs."
—Pete Clark, "Builders who give cowboys a bad name," The Evening Standard, January 21, 2000

A recent BBC2 programme, Raising the Roof, featured ladder gangs, thugs who prey on old age pensioners. One of the firms featured, Premier Construction of Solihull, sported the Fair Trades logo (which contains the words: ‘The Sign of a Reputable Business’) on its van and letter heading.
—“Fair Trades and the Office of Fair Trading,” Glass Age, April 1, 2000

Earliest Citation:
Ladder gangs who call uninvited and scare elderly or vulnerable householders into paying for unnecessary, bodged building work begin this new series of exposes by Paul Kenyon.
—“Watch this,” The Guardian (London), January 20, 2000

Related Words:

Category: