A rogue trader has been fined more than £4,000 for failing to provide customers with the required 14-day cancellation notice, following an investigation by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards.
Trading Standards received a complaint from a concerned customer in his 60s whose wife had been at home alone when she received a cold call from Simon Maziak of Acorn Roofing and Property Maintenance Service Ltd, stating that the tiles on her roof needed repairing.
As she trusted that the trader was telling her the truth, she agreed to work taking place which began straight away.
The trader then stated further work needed to be done and vastly increased the price of the job.
As part of the investigation, it was confirmed by a surveyor that no immediate work was required on the roof.
Before the work started, the householder should have been given notice of their right to a 14-day cooling off period.
This protects customers from the element of surprise inherent in doorstep selling - as customers can feel pressured into making a decision which they would not have made if they had an opportunity to think about it without the trader being present.
Maziak pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £1270.00.
Maziak had previously signed formal undertakings to comply with the requirement to provide such cancellation rights to customers.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection said: “It’s great to see another successful prosecution by Trading Standards, helping to bring unscrupulous traders to account.
“Our advice is never to agree to work on the doorstep, but if you do need work done to your property, get quotes from two or three reputable traders and compare them.
“Ask for recommendations from friends or family and always check the trader out thoroughly.
“Trading Standards operates Buy With Confidence, a trader approval scheme where all members have been stringently vetted to check for legal compliance.
“Details of members can be found by visiting: www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders or telephone 0300 1261000.
“If you do agree to work on the doorstep, the trader must give you a written notice of your right to cancel the contract and failure to do this is a criminal offence.
“The vast majority of businesses out there are honest and reputable, but if you have concerns, always report them to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.
“Customers should always remember that ‘If you’re not sure, don’t open the door’.”