In both cases, older residents were given quotes for relatively minor jobs at their homes, which they accepted. They were then told that more and more work was needed, and left with bills running into thousands of pounds, and work that was unnecessary or poorly done.
In the first case, a Highbury resident was quoted £1,050 for repointing and flashing followed by a claim that damp proofing needed to be done and that the outside steps would needed replacing at an additional cost of £12,840, of which the resident paid half. The firm then left the steps in the garden in a state of disrepair when a surveyor was called in.
In the second case, a Kentish Town resident was quoted £3,000 for damp proofing work in March 2015. During the work the firm drilled into a party wall and caused damage at a neighbouring house. After claiming there were several roof defects, the firm quoted an additional £12,600. Almost one year later, they returned uninvited claiming they needed to inspect the damp proofing work. They removed floor boards and then pressurised the consumer in to paying an additional £3,600 for additional damp proof work.
After a prosecution was brought by Islington Council’s Trading Standards, James Joseph Delaney, director of Shields Installations Limited, Browning Road, Enfield pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for contravening the requirements of professional diligence.
In a sentencing hearing at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday 22nd July 2019, Delaney was sentenced to an 18-month community order including 240 hours’ unpaid work and a three-month curfew. He was ordered to pay £18,744 to one victim and £11,810 to another.
In his sentencing, HHJ Holmes said that Delaney was responsible for running a business that took advantage of the victims in their own homes by pressurising them to go ahead with work that was unnecessary, overpriced and badly done.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance and community safety, said: “Rogue traders and cold callers often prey on vulnerable people, and can cause huge misery and upset. We will continue to investigate and take action on all reports of rogue traders in Islington.
“We urge residents to be cautious and to be especially careful of people who turn up unannounced and offer to carry out building or roofing work.”
(Residents are urged to report incidents to Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06.)
Islington Trading Standards offers the following advice:
- Be extremely cautious about anyone turning up unannounced offering to do work on your home
- Choose a trader who has undergone, some form of independent validation, for example Which? Trusted traders
- Always get a written quotation and make sure the paperwork has the full details of the company/business, including a postal address
- Do not part with any money until you are satisfied that the business is legitimate, and even then only hand over a small proportion of the money to cover a deposit for materials etc.
For more information see the following links: