A TRADER from Ramsgate has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service after aggressively targeting an elderly customer in Wokingham.
Last week, Gary Adams, 48, of Margate Road, Ramsgate, Kent, was found guilty by Reading Crown Court of two charges of unfair trading by making false representations and by engaging in aggressive commercial practices.
During the seven-day trial, which took place from December 9, Adams was acquitted of one further charge of failing to act with professional diligence with respect to the standard of the work.
The court heard that Adams was the director of Smarter Coatings Commercial Ltd, which in January 2018, was contracted to carry out some spray painting work to the exterior of a house in Wokingham belonging to an elderly customer.
The consumer paid a deposit to Mr Adams, but the court heard that a dispute arose concerning the quality of the work carried out and Mr Adams was told not to return to the property.
Reading Crown Court heard, regardless of being told not to return, Mr Adams attempted to contact the consumer and sent letters the contents of which the consumer found intimidating.
Furthermore, despite no longer being a member of the Federation of Master Builders from January 23, 2018, Smarter Coatings Commercial Ltd’s website continued to display the affiliation, and also referred to the membership in a letter sent to the consumer after membership ceased.
On Friday, December 20, Judge Campbell ordered Adams to undertake 100 hours unpaid work over a 12 month period, together with 25 days rehabilitation activity, and pay £5,000 of prosecution costs.
Compensation of £2,127 was ordered to be paid to the consumer being the deposit paid, and Mr Adams was also disqualified from being a director of a company for three years.
The case was investigated by Officers of the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Response Team and proceedings were brought by Wokingham Borough Council and prosecuted by the PPP Joint Case Management Unit.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure at Wokingham Borough Council and member of the Joint Public Protection Committee, said: “Misleading consumers and behaving aggressively towards them is completely unacceptable.
“In the case the victim of this unfair trading was an elderly resident which was one of a number of aggravating factors.
“We hope in bringing this case we send a clear message to others who may be acting or who may be considering acting in a similar manner that we will investigate and if appropriate legal proceedings will be instituted.
“Finally we are pleased that the court ordered compensation to the victim.”
Any Bracknell, Wokingham or West Berkshire resident or business who feels they have been the victim of unfair trading is urged to contact the council’s Public Protection Partnership team on 01635 519930 or e-mail to email@example.com.
Further advice can be found on the PPP website at www.publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk and the service can be followed on www.twitter.com/PublicPP_UK and www.facebook.com/publicprotectionpartnershipuk where there are regular advice messages.