Rogue traders tried to con elderly Leamington woman out of more than £25,000
A pair of conmen tried to scam an elderly Leamington woman out of more than £25,000 by making unnecessary improvements to her home.
But Bournemouth traders Jack Burton and Stuart High were unsuccessful after the 86-year-old victim's building society prevented her from withdrawing huge amounts of money to pay them.
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards were informed and were able to prosecute the two men.
And at Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Tuesday January 22, Burton, 27, of Cranleigh Road, Bournemouth, was fined £1,584 for two offences, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £158 and costs of £4913.90, making a total of £8239.90.
He had previously pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
And High, 32, of Holderhurst Road, Bournemouth, was fined £618, ordered to pay costs of £2234.95 and a £60 victim surcharge for a total of £2910.95 after also previously pleading guilty to two offences.
Burton, who trades as Roofwise/Jack Burton Property Services Ltd, visited the home of the elderly resident and convinced her to purchase foam loft insulation, despite her loft being adequately insulated. She also agreed to pay for other work including roof tile and panel cleaning.
She was told the work would cost her £18,500 but no breakdown of the price was given.
Despite having been sent a letter by Trading Standards giving him advice about the cancellation rights of consumers just days before, Burton did not give the consumer any information about her right to cancel the contract within 14 days and the work was set to be carried out the next day.
The incident came to light after the victim visited her local building society to withdraw half the cost - £9,250 - and was stopped from doing so by quick-thinking staff.
They then contacted Warwickshire Trading Standards which launched an investigation.
Trading Standards Officers supported the consumer, the work was declined and no money was paid. A Harassment Notice was issued making it a criminal offence for Mr Burton to return to the property.
Three days later, High, trading as Off Grid Renewables Ltd, also visited the victim’s home.
High attempted to sell her foam loft insulation and a new battery for solar panels fitted to the resident’s property.
He attempted to charge her £6,900 for the work without giving the consumer any explanation of how the price was calculated or what the benefit would be in terms of energy savings, but Trading Standards Officers again stepped in and no money was paid.
In mitigation, Mr Bridge, representing High, said that the case should not be treated as one in which his client was seeking to rip off an elderly lady and that the allegations related to paperwork. He further stated that Mr High had done a lot of other good work and had not had complaints.
Burton did not attend court and no mitigation was offered.
Cllr Andy Crump, portfolio holder for community safety said: "Our Trading Standards service works tirelessly to support elderly and vulnerable people across the county, preventing them from being misled by unscrupulous traders and paying for overpriced and unnecessary work.
“I’m delighted that this case came to light thanks to the vigilance of a local building society."