One trader jailed and another fined for misleading vulnerable consumers

Crime | Posted: Monday, November 26th, 2018 at 8:53 am | return to news

One trader jailed and another fined for misleading vulnerable consumers

A Bournemouth trader who misled two vulnerable consumers when doing work at their homes in Dorset has been jailed for 22 months.

Another trader working at the same addresses has also been fined for misleading the same two consumers in relation to other work.

The prosecutions followed an investigation by trading standards officers from Dorset County Council.

Daniel Matthews, aged 50, of Wellington Road, Bournemouth, was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court on 24 October 2018 of dishonestly making false representations to a consumer near Dorchester that roofing work invoiced for was required to be done when it was not, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.

He was also found guilty of two other offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 of failing to provide information on that consumer’s right to cancel a contract and giving a misleading, excessive quote to another consumer in Swanage for insulating the underside of his roof with spray foam.

Matthews was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment at Southampton Crown Court on 22 November 2018 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs and compensation.

At the trial the jury heard how, in September 2016, Matthews gave a deliberately inflated estimate to the Swanage consumer for foam insulation totalling £6,150.

In December 2016, Matthews ‘cold-called’ an 84 year-old consumer in Broadmayne, near Dorchester, and told him insulation put in just eight months previously was the wrong type and that the whole roof needed replacing and his superior foam insulation applied.

An associate of Matthews, Darren Carr, aged 50, of Victoria Road, Poole, was found guilty, at the same trial, of offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

He also misled the same consumer from Broadmayne, Dorchester, by presenting a £12,500 invoice detailing work required to be done on the roof, which was not necessary. Mr Carr took a £3,000 deposit from the customer and it was only when a concerned neighbour intervened that the work was stopped.

He also knowingly or recklessly engaged in an unfair commercial practice when he installed a wood burner at the Swanage consumer’s home. He had earlier pleaded guilty to the unfair commercial practice of stating he was HETAS Registered (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) on a business card given to a consumer.

Carr was ordered to pay a £1750 fine and costs of £8,000 when Southampton Crown Court sentenced both men on 22 November.

Councillor Andrew Parry, Cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said,“Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for vulnerable consumers from rogue traders but cases like these emphasis how vital it is for all of us to be alert to this sort of behaviour and to look out for our relatives and neighbours.”

Consumers who want to report unfair trading problems to trading standards, or to complain about any goods or services, should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk

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