Rogue traders have been warned they face jail if they continue to prey on vulnerable people after a Hartlepool man was imprisoned.
Anthony Chapman, 26, of Annandale Crescent, Hartlepool, was jailed for a year after admitting four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
Our message to the public is simply do not deal with any doorstep callersIan Harrison, Hartlepool Council’s trading standards and licensing manager
Teesside Crown Court heard that Chapman had deliberately given a low quote of £45 to persuade an elderly couple to agree to roofing work, and then upped the price to £1,000.
Other cowboy traders risk following Chapman, who traded as North East Property Roofing, to prison, according to Hartlepool Trading Standards.
Ian Harrison, Hartlepool Borough Council’s trading standards and licensing manager, said: “The prevention, detection and investigation of rogue trader incidents is our top priority, so we will respond to each and every complaint we receive.
“Conning elderly and vulnerable people out of their life savings is completely unacceptable, and Trading Standards will continue to work with the police and other agencies to identify and prosecute cowboy builders, rogue traders and others who trade unfairly.
“Our message to the public is simply do not deal with any doorstep callers – they can be unscrupulous and use a range of persuasive tactics to make what they are offering sound too good to be true.
“If you are worried about anything a doorstep caller has told you, contact a few other builders and get written quotes from them.
“Do not feel pressured into allowing them to do the work regardless of how good the offer may sound or how bad they say the damage is.
“Traders who call at your home are required to provide you with certain information, including paperwork detailing your rights to cancel the contract within 14 days.
“Failure to provide this information is a criminal offence, and can mean you don’t have to pay for work that has been done.”
The Trading Standards team has free ‘Say No To Doorstep Traders’ stickers available for Hartlepool residents, which tell traders that the homeowner does not deal with doorstep callers and act as a reminder of what to do if a trader calls unexpectedly.
Residents are explained to refuse entry, explain that they do not deal with doorstep callers, ask them to leave, close the door and tell Trading Standards by calling 01429 523362.
Stickers can be collected from the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, or any of Hartlepool’s libraries free of charge.
n Meanwhile, another roofer from Hartlepool named Anthony Chapman has told of his ‘nightmare’ after discovering someone of the same name had been convicted.
Mr Chapman, 35, of Lady Mantle Close, is co-owner of Bell and Chapman Construction, and said: “It was a nightmare when I saw he had the same name, and I had loads of people texting me.
“I’m concerned people who saw the name may have thought it was me, so I just want to make it clear that I’m not him.
“Lots of people have been taking the mick on social media.”