Further Trading Standards Success
This year the HETAS team has been working harder than ever to tackle rogues who mislead consumers. A recent court case has led to a large fine for a rogue installer of stoves based near Southampton.
Darren Carr, aged 50, from Poole, was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court of offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
He misled an 84-year-old resident of Broadmayne, near Dorchester by presenting a £12,500 invoice detailing work required to be done on the roof, which was not necessary. Carr took a £3,000 deposit from the customer, and it was only when a concerned neighbour intervened that the work was stopped. When installing a wood burner at the Swanage resident’s home, Carr also stated he was HETAS Registered when in fact he has never been registered. He pleaded guilty to this unfair commercial practice.
Carr was ordered to pay a £1750 fine and costs of £8,000.
Following the sentencing, Councillor Andrew Parry, cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said:
“Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for vulnerable consumers from rogue traders. Cases like this emphasis how vital it is for all of us to be alert to this sort of behaviour.”
In a separate case, a Crewkerne trader was accused of false and misleading practices towards his customers. The claims were concerning the installation of stoves. The trader from Somerset pleaded guilty at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on 5 November 2018 to three offences of publishing misleading claims. One was under the Fraud Act 2006 and two under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
While trading as ‘Flaming Burners’ in March 2017 Mr Park admitted to dishonestly making a false representation on his business’s Facebook page that he was registered with HETAS and a number of other schemes.
Park was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge and fined £400. He was also ordered to pay £800 towards the County Council’s prosecution costs. An additional £302 compensation was awarded to the victims.
Park was due to appear before Somerset Magistrates to enter pleas to 12 separate allegations but did not show up. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
HETAS has been working with Trading Standards with a few the team required as witnesses in court for the Darren Carr case. Jo Courtney Wiggins, HETAS Registration Manager is keen to hear about instances where rogue traders are falsely claiming to be HETAS registered. Jo comments:
“We always want to hear about businesses falsely claiming to be HETAS registered, who appear to be misusing the brand or those who do not comply with standards, regulations and generally mislead members of the public. As an organisation, our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. We would implore anyone with any concerns about rogue traders in your area or non-compliant installations to get in touch.”
These cases follow on from several successful prosecutions throughout 2018. If you are aware of an issue with a rogue trader, please let the HETAS team know on 01684 278170 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.