Dawlish plumber pleads guilty to fraud

Trading-Standards

Posted on: 27 April 2016

A plumber who knowingly failed to provide cancellation rights to consumers has pleaded guilty to six offences under the Fraud Act 2006.

In a prosecution brought by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards service, on Friday 22 April 2016 at Exeter Crown Court, Mr Michael Hall, 55, pleaded guilty to the offences, relating to work carried out in 2012.

At the time of the offences Mr Hall traded as BluFlame Services Devon Limited, from his home address in Dawlish, Devon, this business was struck off by Companies House in July 2015.

The court heard that Mr Hall responded to calls from potential customers, asking for a quote for various work from changing a tap to having a boiler replaced.

Once at the property Mr Hall sometimes gave a verbal quote for work but did not put this in writing, he also failed to issue the consumer a notice of their right to cancel the contract, which is a legally required document for any contract concluded away from the trader’s business premises.

Some of the customers said that Mr Hall came in to look at the job but started the work before they could agree or look for other quotes. Once the work was finished and an invoice issued the price had on occasions significantly increased, in one case by over 150%.

In addition the court heard that some of the work of the customers had to have remedial work done to rectify Hall’s work and some had to bring in other contractors.

Mr Hall had previously, in 2010, been found guilty of falsely claiming registration by “Gas Safe” – accreditation with whom is required to undertake domestic gas work, and other Consumer Protection matters.

In defence the court was told that Mr Hall was suffering depression and anxiety at the time of the offences, and was forced to give up work after suffering a heart attack and small stroke in 2013.

Mr Hall was conditionally discharged for a year by Judge Graham Cottle, who ordered him to pay £500 of Devon County Council Trading Standards Department’s costs.

Protecting vulnerable consumers and cracking down on scams is a high priority for The Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service.

Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Councils Cabinet Member with responsibility Cllr Roger Croadfor Trading Standards said: ”This trader was more concerned with extracting as much money as he could out of his victims, than complying with the legislation and protecting both himself and the consumer.

“I’m pleased that, thanks to the consumers being prepared to give evidence, we’ve been able to bring him to justice”.

Cllr David Hall, the Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council,  said: “The Buy Cllr David HallWith Confidence scheme, which Devon and Somerset Trading Standards help to run, is a good way to find honest and reliable local traders and avoid being ripped off.”

Click here to find members via the Buy With Confidence Website.

Follow our advice on how to protect yourself from scams here.

If you think you have been a victim of a scam you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

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