Trading Standards patrol helps to nail rogue roof tile repairer

Oxford Crown Court heard how a routine Trading Standards patrol spotted a vehicle in Simpsons Way, Kennington on 24 October 2012, which had tree branches in it.

Officers spoke to its owner, David Smith, and then to a householder who approached them, whose home Smith had worked on six months previously, who subsequently complained of his shoddy workmanship.

Price went from £300 to £1,700

Smith, 50, trading under his company name of Tree and Garden Services, had initially told his victim that repair work on loose tiling would cost around £300, before upping the price to £1,700 after claiming that a chimney needed repointing.

Smith admitted a charge of engaging in an unfair commercial practice contrary to regulations three and eight of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

A judge handed Smith on Wednesday November 5 a community order of 200 hours unpaid work, to be carried out in the next 12 months, and ordered him to pay his victim £700 compensation and £500 for distress caused. Smith was told to pay £1,000 costs.

Opportunist trader

Anu Prashar, an Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards Team Leader, who prosecuted Smith, said: "This case is an example of an opportunist trader who thought he could charge a householder a vastly over-inflated price for shoddy repair work.

"It just goes to show that unfortunately there are dishonest traders out there who will chance their arm in search of a quick buck - in this case one of our patrols was passing the location, investigated, and discovered that the householder was unhappy with the standard of work which Smith had carried out."

Buy With Confidence scheme

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council who has Cabinet responsibility for Trading Standards, added: "This is yet another excellent result for Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards team. I hope this case and the sentence given acts as a deterrent to anybody else who might be thinking of trying to con residents out of money in Oxfordshire.

"The county council has the Buy With Confidence Scheme, which is a list of reputable businesses which our Trading Standards team have checked and have approved. My advice is that people should consult this list so they can find a company that has been carefully vetted to ensure that they are honest and reputable."

Click here for more information about Buy with Confidence.