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190830 | Rogue gardener forced pensioners to pay for work they didn't want

The couple telephoned the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 and asked for help. A Trading Standards team was dispatched immediately and intervened, preventing the couple from paying any money to Eastwood.

Failed to provide any written quotation, failed to provide written advice about the couple’s 14 day cooling-off period and failed to provide any information as to the legal name and address of the business.

To help members of the public avoid the rogues, Cornwall Council also offers a list of local businesses that have been checked and tested and are “Trading Standards Approved”.

The full list of businesses can be found at www.cornwall.gov.uk/tradingstandards or by calling 0300 1234 191.

 


Rogue gardener forced pensioners to pay for work they didn't want

Charlie Eastwood from Wheal Jewel appeared in court to be sentenced

People have been warned to watch out for garden maintenance scammersPeople have been warned to watch out for garden maintenance scammers

A gardener who attempted to force pensioners to pay for work they did not want has been convicted of two criminal offences after an investigation by Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards team.

Charlie Eastwood, 32, of Wheal Jewel, St Day near Redruth, admitted two charges when he appeared at Truro Magistrates' Court on Wednesday August 28.

The court heard that in March this year, Eastwood cold-called at the home of a couple in their seventies in Bodmin and persuaded them to have some trees cut back in their garden.

This was despite being told twice by the home-owners that they didn’t want him to do the work. He failed to provide any written quotation, failed to provide written advice about the couple’s 14 day cooling-off period and failed to provide any information as to the legal name and address of the business.

When the couple finally gave in and agreed to the work, the job was done poorly and was nothing like the work that had been described. He charged them £180 for 45 minutes of work.

At that point Eastwood asked for a further payment of £100 to finish the job.

The couple telephoned the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 and asked for help. A Trading Standards team was dispatched immediately and intervened, preventing the couple from paying any money to Eastwood.

The court was told that offering goods or services by cold calling at a person’s home can place consumers under significant pressure to agree to work that they may not otherwise have considered.

Failing to provide the proper written quotation, the business’ legal details and cancellation rights meant that Eastwood was able to dispute what work was agreed, was able to avoid any later come-back and prevented the home owners from seeking other quotes from other firms.

Imposing a 12 month conditional discharge, magistrates warned Eastwood that if he appeared before the courts for any reason during the next year he could be punished further for these offences.

He was also ordered to pay a contribution of £900 towards the Council’s investigation and legal costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council ’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Public Protection, said: “Genuine businesses will never call without an appointment and the circumstances of this prosecution case clearly demonstrate the importance of never dealing with anyone who calls at your home without an appointment.

“No matter how persuasive they are, no matter how good the deal sounds, our advice is to never deal with cold callers.”

To help members of the public avoid the rogues, Cornwall Council also offers a list of local businesses that have been checked and tested and are “Trading Standards Approved”.

The full list of businesses can be found at www.cornwall.gov.uk/tradingstandards or by calling 0300 1234 191.