Preston pensioner was charged ten times rogue trader's original price for worthless roofing work

A trader who travelled from the West Midlands to carry out work on a pensioner's home - then charged her 10 times the original price - has appeared in court.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 3:45 pm

The 73-year-old victim, from Fulwood, was charged £3,000 for very little work on her bungalow roof.

Preston Magistrates' Court heard how Premier Roofing tradesman Peter Harty, 54, from Burcot Avenue, Wolverhampton, appeared at the woman's bedroom window on the afternoon of November 13, 2019, gesturing to her to open the front door.

Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Nick McNamara said: "He informed her that she had quite a few slates missing from her roof so that rain could get in.

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Preston Magistrates' Court

"She would tell you that despite telling Mr Harty that she already had a roofer, he ignored her and said that he would come back after it had stopped raining. He then walked off.

"Later that day she was in her back garden when Peter Harty came round the side of the house to find her. He said there were a number of slipped and missing slates and that some of the plastic verge caps had fallen off due to weather and age. Mr Harty said that to fix the slates would cost £300.

"She thought this didn't seem too expensive and so she agreed to the work."

The work did not go well and she was charged £3,000. When the matter was brought to the attention of Trading Standards, an expert witness who assessed the work carried out on her roof, valued the work as 'worthless'.

In an interview Harty claimed he had noticed holes in her roof as he had been driving by and that, when he examined it closer, it was clear to him that a previous roofer had done a 'bad job'

He refunded her the full amount after admitting an unfair trading charge in relation to failing to inform the pensioner of her cancellation rights.

The bench ordered him to pay a £384 fine, £38 surcharge and £800 costs.

The bench questioned why a trader from Wolverhampton was carrying out work in Lancashire, and remarked the amount he had charged had "ballooned to 10 times the original amount".

The chairman told Harty he had given reputable and honest traders a bad name.

Consumer Regulations require that any contract costing more than £42, which is agreed on the doorstep between a trader and consumer, requires the consumer to be

given a 14-day cancellation notice.

It protects consumers who might otherwise be pressured into buying goods or services on the doorstep by giving them 14 clear days to reflect on what they have entered into and perhaps seek alternative quotes or advice from family or friends.

Under the rules, a consumer who exercises their cooling off rights is not in breach of contract and so does not face any financial consequences by changing their mind. No work can begin during the 14-day cooling-off period unless the consumer expressly waives their cancellation rights in writing, perhaps to deal with a household emergency.

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