Dorset Roofer Prosecuted for Unfair Trading
Surrey Roofer, Jonathan Ball, has been prosecuted and sentenced to community work for making false claims to a resident in Dorset, when carrying out repair work at their property.
The resident found a damp problem in the roof of their bungalow and they used a directory of local traders to find a local roofing contractor. They contacted a business named Guardian UK. Jonathan Ball visited the resident in Verwood, in July 2011, wearing a Guardian UK shirt and persuaded the resident to pay a deposit immediately in order to ‘secure the job’ and failed to inform the resident of their rights to cancel the contract.
When Ball had completed the job, he failed to provide a previously requested breakdown of costs and gave the resident an invoice in the name of Jordan Ball Roofing for a sum of £5,950; Ball claimed that this included a £2,000 discount.
An independent surveyor examined the value of the work done which amounted to just over £2,700, not the original price of £7,950 that Ball was charging.
The damp problem in the resident’s roof worsened and they wrote to complain. The resident subsequently received a letter on Guardian UK paper, falsely claiming that the £2,000 discount was, in fact, unpaid VAT and threatened that if the resident continued with the complaint they would have to pay that too.
An investigation by Dorset County Council Trading Standards Service was conducted into Jonathan Ball and on 22 April 2013 he pleaded guilty to three offences at Bournemouth Crown Court, which included misleading the resident by telling him the cost was discounted, falsely stating that unpaid VAT was owed and failing to inform them on their rights to cancel to the contract.
On 17 May 2013, Ball was sentenced for the three offences committed against the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and was ordered to undertake 150 hours of community work over the next 12 months and pay a £500 contribution to the prosecution’s costs.
Trading Standards Service Manager for Dorset County Council, Ivan Hancock stated: “It is both disappointing and worrying that a trader behaving like this can get business through a recommendation in a trade directory as was the case here. I would urge those who require work doing in their homes to consider using a trader from the Buy with Confidence scheme, the members of which are audited and approved by Trading Standards.”