Deeside based trader fined £1800 after failing to give customers a ‘cooling off period’
A Deeside based trader had to pay more than £1,800 in fines and court costs after not providing customers with a “cooling off” period after undertaking roofing work.
Patrick Quinn McDonagh, who is a Director of PMAC Home Improvements Limited T/A All Seasons Roofing and Gutter Cleaning of Deeside, pleaded guilty at Wrexham Magistrates Court on October 26 to failing to provide consumers with cancellation rights after they entered into a contract with him.
McDonagh, as a Director of PMAC Home Improvements Limited, also pleaded guilty of failing to disclose the company name on the two invoices in question, leaving his customers with no proper information about the company that had worked on their property.
For the two counts of failing to disclose a company name on forms, he paid two fines of £200; costs of £407 and a victim surcharge of £20.
For failing to provide customers with cancellation rights, he paid two separate fines of £300; costs of £407 and a victim surcharge of £30.
In March this year, Wrexham Trading Standards were called to a property in the Johnstown area following a complaint about All Seasons Roofing and Gutter Cleaning increasing the price of a contract for roofing work.
A contract was agreed with McDonagh to fit a dry verge system at a cost of £360, but the price later increased to £3000. McDonagh explained that the price had increased following the discovery of rotten batons and perished felt.
He failed to give the consumer any cancellation rights, even though he had been advised on two previous occasions that this was a legal requirement.
He was given further advice, but the following month another incident occurred where the price was increased from £380 to £4400 for the same reasons. Again, no cancellation rights were given.
In most circumstances, traders who obtain work by calling out to customers’ homes are legally required to provide a document giving details of the customer’s right to change their mind about any contract for work that they agree as a result of the visit.
They have up to 14 days after the contract is agreed to cancel – the so called “cooling off period”. The law was introduced specifically to try and tackle cold calling traders who bamboozled vulnerable householders into having work done on their property before they had been able to properly consider it.
David Kelly, Lead Member for Planning and Pubic Protection, said: “I am very concerned to hear of this case.
“The requirement to provide written information to householders is an important protection, particularly for vulnerable householders, to avoid them being bullied or harassed into a commitment to have work done on the spot. The whole point of this law is to make sure customers know they have some breathing space to properly consider whether they really want or need work doing.
“It is reassuring to see that the courts take the matter seriously when traders fail to make customers properly aware of their rights.”
Kevin Jones, Trading Standards Manager, said:
“Advice from Trading Standards is always to exercise extreme caution when traders call offering to carry out work on the property. There have been too many cases where the work done turned out to be seriously overpriced, of extremely poor quality and often unnecessary in the first place.
“If you think you need work doing, get in touch with local reputable businesses and ask them to provide quotes. Give yourself time to consider quotes and discuss them with friends or family before you go ahead.”
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