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