17 February 2016

Two rogue traders in Sheffield had to find over £2,400 for their dodgy workmanship as the City Council warned residents to be extra careful when approached by ‘cold callers’ on their doorsteps.

Sheffield’s Trading Standards team is warning local people to be on their guard against rogue traders calling door to door offering roofing or other building repairs.

The recent poor weather and high winds may have heightened people’s concerns about their property. But Trading Standards officers have been investigating an increasing number of cases involving cold callers who charge extortionate prices for poor quality or unnecessary work – often leaving properties in a worse state than when they found them.

It is known that most, if not all, of the genuine traders who carry out remedial work and home improvements do not cold call, so the best advice is always beware of any trader who knocks on your door uninvited.

Joseph Gaskin (51), trading as ‘Roofmaster’, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Sheffield’s Magistrates Court last week (11 February)

Gaskin of Land’s End Road, Thorne in Doncaster admitted failing to provide cancellation rights, breaching his requirement of professional diligence, failing to provide correct details about his business and providing a bogus guarantee.

He attempted to charge his victim £480 to replace a few roof tiles and for some repointing work. An expert report described the work as ‘incorrectly executed, unsightly, inadequate, ineffectual and valueless’.

Gaskin was fined £400, ordered to pay costs of £687.51and pay a £30 victim surcharge.

The court also heard evidence against Sam McCready (26) trading as ‘Drive Medic’. McCready of Redmires Road, Sheffield pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. He admitted contravening the requirements of professional diligence in respect of honest market practice and good faith, and failing to provide cancellation rights to his victim.

In July 2015 McCready, whilst providing driveway cleaning services, attempted to disguise the fact he had not completed the agreed work and mislead the consumer into believing all the work had been carried out.

He was fined £350, ordered to pay costs of £527.60 and pay £450.00 compensation to his victim.

Councillor Terry Fox, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: “Whilst we try to ensure local residents are wary of doorstep traders and are able to report their suspicions, both cases illustrate our determination to investigate all incidents of rogue trading and take legal action whenever possible.”

Ian Ashmore, the Council’s Head of Environmental Regulation advised: “Don’t be tempted by the promise of a quick fix; ask for details in writing. Remember, if you’ve been cold called you are entitled to a cooling off period. Take the time to consider if other quotes would be helpful and don’t pay for everything in advance.”