Two men have been ordered to pay fines for fraud offences relating to work carried out on a residential property.
The men were arrested in July after agreeing a price to clean the driveway and roof of a home in Bishop’s Stortford. However, before the work was complete the fee demanded for the work rose to more than £4,000.
The police were alerted when the resident visited their bank to withdraw the cash, but due to the size of the cash withdrawal the bank activated the *Banking Protocol and alerted the police. Officers attended the victim’s address and questioned the traders, finding that they had not provided paperwork for their quote, which is a legal requirement.
James Donovan, aged 28, of Nevis Grove, Bletchley and Ned Delaney, aged 30, of St Albans were ordered to pay a £326.25 fine and £300 costs at St Albans Crown Court on 5 December 2023.
Detective Constable Jordan Quicke, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Case Investigation Team, said: “Working with Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards, we were able to prosecute for an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Consumers do have the right to expect that work undertaken should be completed for the price agreed. We would discourage people from using traders who call at the door, if you want work done to your property take time to research genuine reliable local traders and always ask for written quotations.
“If you feel threatened or intimidated contact: Hertfordshire County Council's Trading Standards on 01707 292429 or call 101. In an emergency always call 999.”
Trading Standards recommend the following advice for consumers following this, and similar incidents:
To find a reliable trader, use the Which? Trusted Traders website (opens in new window). Which? works jointly with Hertfordshire Trading Standards to help you find trustworthy, reputable traders who offer good customer service. Every endorsed trader has met the agreed high standards and traders listed on the scheme with a 'Hertfordshire Trading Standards approved' logo have been assessed by trading standards professionals and DBS checked.
Be very wary if a trader tries to increase the size or cost of the job once they have started work.
Don’t be rushed into a decision about having work done, take your time to speak to friends and family, get their opinion and get other traders to quote and give their opinions before going ahead with work.
Ensure you have a detailed written contract outlining the work to take place, how long it will take and the materials to be used.
Make sure that you know where the trader is based – trader’s are legally obliged to include their company’s address on contracts.
Know your rights in relation to cooling off periods and cancellation of contracts.