Tackling Rogues

Tackling Rogues 2018Tackling Rogues 2018

As an organisation our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. We want to promote the use of professional installers and root out rogue tradesmen for our industry and we really want to hear from about bad installations that you come across. We have a number of routes to reporting this.

HETAS Complaints Process

HETAS is concerned with the safety, technical standard and compliance to Building Regulations of the work carried out by you, our registrants. As installers you are required to undertake specific training and be routinely monitored to be registered with HETAS. This helps us monitor that you are carrying out safe and compliant installations.

We do however understand that complaints can arise from time to time. Where HETAS investigate a complaint, we are aiming to establish whether the registrant is responsible for leaving a safety or Building Regulations defect and if so, to get that rectified by the registrant concerned.

Consumers are able to make complaints to HETAS within a two year time frame from the original installation. However, there are instances where HETAS can extend this two year policy should there be justifiable reasons to do so.

The HETAS Technical Area has supporting documents that can be used by our registrants to make the handling of complaints, checklists and contract examples. It is a requirement of HETAS registration that business have in place systems to ensure where a complaint is received there is a process to receive, record and deal with the complaint. See Conditions of Registration 1.8. Registered Business must ensure they keep records of complaints received for at least six years.

Whistleblowing

Ultimately HETAS wants to hear from customers where there are instances of non-compliance so we can fully investigate and support them in having an installation rectified or brought up to the expected standard. There are instances where this might not be possible and our whistleblowing policy might be more suitable. Running for a number of years, this process has enabled HETAS to investigate issues with both registrants and where appropriate non-registrants who aren’t meeting the high standards expected in our industry. The whistleblowing process is anonymous, open to registered installers, consumers and non-registered installers to report and has proven successful in gathering information for HETAS to tackle non-compliance. Get in touch with the team on 01684 278170 or via our website at info@HETAS.co.uk if you want to discuss this process in more detail.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act has minimum standards that apply to most contracts between a business and customer. Customers generally have up to 6 years from provision of a product or service in which to make a claim. HETAS with support from Gloucestershire Trading Standards (via our Primary Authority partnership) provided guidance in Technical Bulletin #6 for our registrants on customer contracts and The Consumer Rights Act. Visit the HETAS Technical Area to download the guidance. Further guidance is available in the Technical Area from HETAS and Which Trusted Traders.

Enforcement

Taking enforcement action applies to registrants who do not meet the standards required for registration with HETAS. A number of businesses have been suspended and removed from the registration scheme last year and we always want to know about installers who aren’t complying with standards.

Misleading Claims

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses who falsely claim to be HETAS registered or appear to be misusing the HETAS brand. As a Primary Authority HETAS works in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and has successfully supported Trading Standards nationally in enforcement through the courts. Consumer protection regulations specifically ban businesses from displaying any quality mark or equivalent they are not accredited for, or from giving deceptive information. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have.

There are a number of ways you can contact the team:

Tel: 01684 278170

Email: info@hetas.co.uk

Tackling Rogues/Whistleblowing/ Logo Misuse

As an organisation our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. HETAS is keen to work with industry to tackle rogues and promote reputable businesses.

Tackling Rogues

Nobody wants bad installers working in our industry and HETAS is keen to work with all in the trade to root out the rogues.

Enforcement against rogue traders and those pretending to be HETAS registered has become more common in recent years, aided by HETAS entering a formal Primary Authority relationship with Trading Standards. We work in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about more enforcement action than before we entered the partnership. Our registration team have provided numerous and regular Witness Statements to support legal enforcement nationwide.

Talking to HETAS installers every day, we know that you are keen to know that we do in fact deal with installers who undertake very poor work whether registered with us or not.  We agree and a number of businesses have been suspended and/or removed from the registration scheme this year. On the other side of the coin we have had complaints about installers that are not justified and in these cases we have been able to support installers and present a clear case to the customers concerned.  Where there are safety concerns we always want to hear about them and will either act or advise as appropriate.

Whistleblowing

HETAS has a whistleblowing procedure for reporting of non-compliance issues on an anonymous basis. The HETAS whistle-blowing process has also proven effective as a means for registrants to notify HETAS of non-complaint work. Our marketing team also monitor social media posts. Ultimately, contact with homeowners is the best way for HETAS to investigate a complaint effectively, our complaints process can be viewed by clicking here. Get in touch with the HETAS team to discuss whistleblowing on 01684 278170 or email info@hetas.co.uk.

Logo Misuse

Sadly there are times when non-registered businesses misuse the HETAS brand and mislead customers. Through our Primary Authority partnership with Trading Standards, HETAS has developed a robust process for dealing with logo misuse. If you are aware of someone misusing the HETAS brand, please let us know so we can initiate our processes. In more complex cases we do have to work with Trading Standards and we have a number of recent cases of enforcement by Trading Standards. Get in touch with the team on info@hetas.co.uk along with evidence of brand misuse.

 

Get in touch with the HETAS team to discuss tackling rogues, whistleblowing or logo misuse.

Enforcement Action

In the October edition of the HETAS e-news we featured a piece on tackling rogue installers. Throughout 2016 the HETAS team has worked hard with enforcement agencies to tackle rogue installers and we want to continue that work into 2017 and need your help.

 During 2016 HETAS continued to work with enforcement agencies to tackle rogue installers, as highlighted in the recent Glyn Mayne, who traded as ‘Nostalgia Home’ case. In this case ten different customers came forward, from all over south east Wales, and every person who contacted Trading Standards complained about poor workmanship and that they had all believed Mayne to be HETAS registered when he was not.

Prosecution

Glyn Norman Mayne appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on 20th July 2016 for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and 15 charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay compensation totalling £4,950 to be paid to 8 of the customers, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.

Enforcement such as this has become more common in recent years, aided by HETAS becoming a Trading Standards Primary Authority, working in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about enforcement action. Our registration team and management have provided countless Witness Statements to Trading Standards agencies nationwide.

Taking enforcement action also applies to registrants who do not meet the standards required for registration with HETAS. A number of businesses have been suspended and removed from the registration scheme this year and we always want to know about installers who aren’t complying with standards

The HETAS whistle-blowing process has also proven effective as a means for registrants to notify HETAS of non-complaint work. Our marketing team also monitor social media posts. Ultimately, contact with homeowners is the best way for HETAS to investigate a complaint effectively, our complaints process can be viewed by clicking here.

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses falsely claiming to be HETAS registered, appear to be misusing the HETAS brand or those who do not comply with standards and regulations. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have about rogue traders in your area or non-compliant installations you have encountered. The team on the Technical Helpline is also on hand to discuss the required action to take when identifying non-compliance with Building Regulations. In 2017, the HETAS team will also share details on a new unsafe situation procedure.

Click here for contact details for the HETAS team.

 

Tackling Rogue Installers

Tackling Rogue Installers

Rogue Trader | Rogue InstallerHETAS continues to work with enforcement agencies tackling rogue installers, most recently to bring about a suspended jail sentence for Caerphilly stove fitter.

Glyn Norman Mayne, 45, of Ogmore Court, Caerphilly who traded as ‘Nostalgia Home’ – a business claiming to specialise in the fitting of solid fuel burning stoves – came to the attention of Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Trading Standards team after a customer contacted them with a complaint. The main complaint was that Mayne was claiming to be registered with the Heating Equipment Testing and Approved Scheme (HETAS) when in fact he wasn’t.

As the investigation continued, 10 different customers came forward, not only from Caerphilly but from all over south east Wales, and every person who contacted Trading Standards complained about poor workmanship and that they had all believed Mayne to be HETAS registered when he was not.

Trading Standards had all the stoves installed by Mayne examined by HETAS inspectors, and found that six of the installations were actually dangerous. Additionally, one customer had paid Mayne £2,700 to purchase an appliance which he never supplied.

Court Appearance

Glyn Norman Mayne appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on 20th July 2016 for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and 15 charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay compensation totalling £4,950 to be paid to 8 of the customers, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.

His Honour Judge Fitton QC heard both the prosecution case and mitigation on behalf of Mr Mayne. In sentencing, he considered that ‘the defendant had held himself out as HETAS registered, when he was not. He was competing with those who were genuinely qualified and registered, and this was unfair competition, devaluing those other engineers’. He also considered how ‘the work was shoddy and in some aspects dangerous. This was due to incompetence, rather than a deliberate cutting of corners to increase his profit’. Credit was also given for Mayne entering early guilty pleas.

Cllr Nigel George, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Protection said, “The irresponsible actions of Mr Mayne could so easily have resulted in an extremely serious, potentially dangerous incident, particularly as six of the installations were found to be in a dangerous condition. It was fortunate that the customers had the foresight to contact our Trading Standards team so that this could be looked into.

“Customers expect to pay a fair price for a quality service, and our officers work tirelessly to fully investigate any such issue that is brought to their attention. I’d encourage anyone with any information on individuals carrying out illegal, dangerous or unfair practices in Caerphilly county borough to get in touch confidentially with our Trading Standards team to report it”.

Get in Touch

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses falsely claiming to be HETAS registered, or appear to be misusing the HETAS brand. As a Primary Authority HETAS works in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about enforcement action. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have.

Unregistered installer of wood burners is prosecuted

A man who falsely claimed to be registered to install and work on wood burning stoves has been prosecuted by Dorset County Council’s trading standards team.

On 4 November 2013 at Weymouth Magistrates Court, Nicholas Dominic Joseph Jerrard, aged 40, of Castlemaine Road, Weymouth, pleaded guilty to six offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He admitted misleading three consumers about his registration and authorisation to sign off installations of wood burning stoves. He was given a two-year conditional discharge, ordered to pay costs to the county council of £415.50 and a £15 victim surcharge.

In March and April 2012, the first victims were looking for someone to supply and fit a wood burning stove. They contacted the defendant, who was trading as Weymouth Chimney Services, and during the conversation Mr Jerrard informed the victim that he was “registered with the appropriate bodies in order to ensure that the wood burning stove was fitted correctly and signed off with the relevant bodies”. He then went on to state “Notice plate and sign off”  in a quotation detailing the supply and fitting of a wood burning stove. This was a further statement which misled the victim that he was in a position to carry out the works, sign them off and ensure the necessary notification would take place. On this basis, the victims engaged the defendant to supply and fit a stove and transferred £1,947.95 to Mr Jerrard’s account. The defendant failed to supply the wood burner or carry out any work at all.

At about the same time another consumer in Weymouth was looking for a registered installer to sign off some work, and employed Mr Jerrard. The defendant went to the property, inspected the works and provided a plate for the installation which he completed with the name “Jerrard” and the number “01920”. The defendant also supplied a commissioning form on which was handwritten the number “2920” next to the statement “Registered member of (e.g. HETAS, NACE, NACS)”.

A trading standards officer carried out checks with the various registration schemes who confirmed that Mr Jerrard was not registered. She wrote to Mr Jerrard in November 2012 detailing the allegations and requesting that he contact the service. He failed to reply.

In March 2013 a further victim was misled by Mr Jerrard .Again, he claimed to be authorised to carry out and sign off works on a wood burning stove and provided a data plate and commissioning form as he had done before.

In mitigation, Mr Jerrard’s solicitor said that the defendant did not know that he wasn’t registered. He had been registered with HETAS during his past employment and had not realised that it lapsed when he left.

Richard Herringshaw, principal trading standards officer for Dorset County Council, said:

“These consumers were actively looking for a registered installer and were clearly misled by Mr Jerrard. Using a registered installer means that works are safe and that it is notified to the local council’s building control department. Operators of registered installers schemes ensure that the installer is trained, often monitor a sample of works carried out and have dispute resolution services to help when things go wrong. Claiming to be registered when not also gives the unscrupulous trader an unfair advantage over those who comply with the law.

“Where such installers are brought to our attention we will investigate and take legal action in appropriate cases”

Anyone who has concerns about goods or services they have purchased should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06. This is the first point of contact for any consumer complaints requiring investigation by trading standards officers.

Consumers can search and check for registered installers using the search facility at www.hetas.co.uk/find-installer

Trading standards send rogue trader up in smoke

tradingstandardsA Caerphilly man has been fined £4200 after an investigation by Trading Standards regarding poorly fitted and potentially dangerous wood burning stoves. Luke Hathway, who traded as Everything Stoves and Celtic Stoves, had been the subject of several complaints to Trading Standards, and had falsely claimed to be a member of HETAS. Despite attending HETAS courses he had not registered with the competent persons scheme, and therefore falsely promoted himself as a HETAS registered installer.

One wood-burning stove fitted by Hathway was inspected by an expert from HETAS and condemned as “immediately dangerous”. When the appliance was tested the room filled with smoke and the fire was incorrectly positioned. Other wood burning appliances were investigated, which had already been subject to repair or replacement to make them safe. During the hearing at Caerphilly Magistrates Court, Hathway pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to falsely claiming membership of a trade organisation and not being professionally diligent when supplying and fitting wood burning stoves. He was fined £4200, ordered to pay £2007.71 in victim compensation, and £1379 in prosecution costs and a £15 surcharge.

Bruce Allen, chief executive of HETAS said ‘we work closely together with Trading Standards across the UK to investigate complaints and reports of poor workmanship. Part of our role is to uphold standards in the industry, whilst protecting the reputation of legitimate registered installers who are doing a safe and efficient job. The HETAS logo gives customers the reassurance of using a trained and registered installer, and they can easily check either online or by phone that their installer is registered with us.’

Trading Standards Success

Installer fined for illegal use of HETAS logo

tradingstandardsA heating installer from Devon has been ordered to pay almost £3,500 by Barnstaple Magistrates Court for offences including the misuse of the HETAS logo. Warren Emo trading as Fired Up pleaded guilty to all three charges which included giving a customer incorrect advice on the installation of woodburning stoves.

The case was brought to court by Devon Trading Standards, who were assisted by statements from HETAS confirming that Fired Up was not a HETAS registered business, despite the fact that Mr Emo had used the HETAS logo in advertisements in the North Devon Gazette. The court also found that Fired Up had contravened the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) by falsely advising a customer that he could not have a woodburning stove in each of the rooms of his property, and also that it would not be possible to have a woodburner in one room and a fire grate in another.

The fine for misuse of the HETAS logo was £1165, with an additional fine of £665 for the charge of giving incorrect advice. Mr Emo was also ordered to pay £1000 towards costs, and £603.50 in compensation to the customer with a victim surcharge of £15.

Commenting on the case, HETAS Head of Registration Tina Seymour said ‘we take any misuse of the HETAS logo very seriously, and work closely with trading standards across the UK to clamp down on any illegal use. With a growing number of HETAS registered businesses and increasing awareness of the HETAS logo amongst consumers we are keen to protect the reputation of legitimately registered installers.’

To find out more about HETAS registration click here.