Smartproof Roof Coating Scam
Smartproof, the trading name of Smartcoat Ltd has dissolved after receiving bad publicity from featuring on the BBC’s Watchdog programme in 2012 after numerous complaints.
The director of the Leeds firm, Matthew Martin Preston, has been disqualified for 9 years for allowing the company to engage in sales practises that breached consumer protection legislation.
After an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Preston has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skill which prevents him from becoming directly or indirectly involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Smartproof offered renovations and roof coatings and claimed the coatings help prolong the life of a roof, reduced heat loss up to 25% and offered a 10-year insurance backed guarantee. However, they failed to purchase this guarantee for over 200 customers.
The BBC’s investigation into Smartproof found that their sales team preyed upon vulnerable and elderly people by pressurising them to go ahead with work that was completed to an exceptionally poor standard for an extortionate amount of money.
One customer found that the roof had leaked just days after having the roof coating applied, ultimately reducing the life of the roof.
The company also refused customers their mandatory cooling off period, took deposits as soon as the victims signed up to the services and denied cancellation rights.
The programme consisted of a house set up with small cameras and an actress who would be getting work done to the roof. A chartered surveyor assessed the roof beforehand and concluded the roof was in good condition and only needed some basic maintenance. However, the Smartproof salesman claimed that the waterproof coating had eroded and disappeared from the roof in 1980 and if she ignored it, the re-roofing would cost over £10,000. The roof coating was quoted for over £4,000, which was whittled down to just over £2,000 if she signed up for it there and then.
The work completed included a jet wash which in itself is a bad sign as high-pressure washers should not be used on roof tiles and the workers were walking across the roof where they could have broken more tiles.
A total of 5 hours and 20 minutes was spent on the roof for a so-called 2-day job and was completed without any pre-survey work, did not include a loft inspection and the workers disregarded any kind of health and safety precautions. The roof ended up with more broken tiles than it began with and was damaged on the inside.