With the launch of the national campaign ‘Don’t be rushed, Don’t be hushed’ and Herefordshire’s trading standards focusing heavily on rogue traders and cold calling over the next 12 months, Herefordshire residents are asked to be vigilant.
On Friday 26 June at Hereford Magistrates Court, in a case taken by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service, 18 year old Sam Janes of Pontypool, Gwent pleaded guilty to three consumer protection offences. He was conditionally discharged for 12 months and was ordered to pay £745 towards costs and other financial penalties imposed.
Janes deceived an elderly couple into paying a £250 deposit for tree and fencing work and then failed to return to undertake the job. He gave a false address on the receipt and his mobile number was disconnected so there was no way of contacting him. Fortunately the consumer had taken his van registration which was traced. After police contacted Mr Janes he quickly went back to the consumers’ property and trimmed the hedge while they were out. He then falsely claimed the only contract was for cutting the hedge.
Janes had only been trading a few months as Evergreen Tree & Garden Services back in April 2015 when he committed the offences and told the court he is no longer trading.
Mike Pigrem, head of trading standards & licensing said, “Rogue gardeners generally operate by ‘cold calling’ or by dropping flyers through your letter box. We are finding that it is a common way for rogue traders to make initial contact, especially at this time of year. The public should not respond to either forms of communication, as you are almost certainly going to be vastly overcharged for poor quality work and are likely not to be given any statutory ‘cooling off’ period. Inevitably they will do the work straight away and then disappear with your money.
Consumers should only use reputable and trusted gardeners and qualified tree surgeons who can provide references before starting. Herefordshire Council has its own ‘Trader Register’ and we would recommend that you always visit this site first. The trader register can be found at: www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire
We will continue to work in partnership with the police to tackle all forms of rogue trading to ensure that the most vulnerable within the county are protected.”
Trading standards would encourage consumers to call our ‘rogue trader emergency line’ directly when a rogue trader incident is in progress on 01432 261761 or the police non-emergency number 101.