Halton Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers have prosecuted three Runcorn rogue traders after they carried out poor quality and unfinished gardening and driveway work at the homes of Runcorn residents.
Residents complained after they paid A D Fencing and Decking (operated by Allen Miller, David Hammond and Stephen Schofield) or Mersey Landscapes (operated by Allen Miller and Stephen Schofield) for gardening and landscaping work that was unfinished or of poor quality.
In Warrington Combined Courts, on Wednesday 17 January, Allen Miller of Poplars Close Runcorn, Stephen Schofield of Centurion Row , Runcorn and David Hammond of Larch Close, Runcorn, pleaded guilty to a number of offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Allen Miller, aged 36, and Stephen Schofield, aged 32, pleaded guilty to two offences of posting fake customer reviews on Google.
Stephen Schofield wrote a review with 5 stars saying ‘Absolutely fantastic price and brilliant work completed at a very stressful time for the family which truly did help ease the situation by having these great lads!’
Allen Miller also wrote a review with 5 stars saying ‘Amaizing (sic) work, fast and friendly service. Highly recommended.’
They also pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to exercise the standard of special skill and care a trader is reasonably expected to exercise and also of failing to tell the consumers, in writing, that they had a 14 day right to cancel the contract.
David Hammond, aged 34, pleaded guilty to three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008: two offences of failing to exercise the standard of special skill and care a trader may reasonably be expected to exercise and to one offence of failing to tell the consumers, in writing, that they had a 14-day right to cancel the contract.
The three defendants were fined a total of £320, were told to pay £2300 to the council towards the cost of the prosecution and ordered to pay a total of £5800 in compensation to the three Runcorn consumers.
Cllr Dave Cargill, Halton Borough Council Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, said “Our Trading Standards team has a successful track record of investigating rogue traders and bringing them to justice – this benefits the Borough’s honest traders as well as its residents. Follow the advice below and don’t get caught out by a rogue”.
• Don’t agree to buy on the doorstep from people you have not asked to call on you.
• Look for recommendations from friends, family and neighbours who have been satisfied with the work they’ve had done.
• Get three written quotes from three different traders which include details of the materials they will use and the work they’ll do – this is so you can compare the three quotes.
• If you have access to the internet, try searching for the trader online to see if there are any bad reviews.
• Don’t pay in full until the work is completed. A genuine trader will not request for payment up front.
• Get a receipt every time you make a payment and if possible, avoid paying in cash – a money transfer from your account to theirs is better than cash.
If you’ve had work done and it is not satisfactory, you can get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.