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News round-up

Suspended sentences for rogue security operators

SUFFOLK Trading Standards have been investigating director Kevin Powell and salesman Barry Bradshaw from Security Hub Home Zone Limited for the high pressure sales tactics they used to get Suffolk residents to sign up to contracts for security alarms to be fitted to their property.
Both men pleaded guilty to the charges that trading standards brought against them, and have received suspended jail sentences and ordered to pay more than £6000.
Kevin Powell, 35, director of Security Hub Home Zone Limited, along with his employee; Barry Bradshaw, 42 were charged under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations concerning high pressure sale of security alarm systems in Suffolk.
Mr Powell received a sentence of eight months suspended for two years, 160 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months and ordered to pay a total sum of £4,500 victim compensation.
Bradshaw received an eight week suspended for 12 months, 80 hours unpaid work to be completed in a 12 month period and ordered to pay costs of £2000.
This sentencing follows an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards after a complaint from a mother of two who had received a cold call from Security Hub Home Zone.
They claimed she was one of five households in the area to receive a free security system but this claim was false; the alarm was not free and she was given a “discount voucher code” which was offered to all potential victims but had no effect on the high price of the alarm system.
Once the victim agreed to a sales visit at her home, Mr Bradshaw, visited her property, used high pressure sales tactics and falsely claimed that her and her family were at risk. Then only 15 minutes after Mr Bradshaw left, a company engineer arrived and fitted the alarm system which tied the victim to a five year contract with the company.
Following contact from Suffolk Trading Standards, the company fully refunded an amount of £3,300. However it was found that other victims had also been mis-sold alarm systems and pressured into signing contracts for alarm installation.

door knocking

Television was nothing more than a shell

SUFFOLK Trading Standards has this week issued a warning to residents about what appear to be bargain television sets being sold from the back of a van in supermarket car parks in Newmarket. But when customers got them home the box contained nothing more than the shell of a televison.
One customer contacted Suffolk Trading Standards after paying £70 for what they thought was a Samsung TV, but once home, found that they just had the shell of a TV.
This is not a new scam though because trading standards officers in Wales, Humberside, and other areas have all had complaints about similar sales.
In Newport, South Wales, people who have bought these discounted televisions have often found that once they get them home and unwrap the packaging, the televisions do not work or have smashed and damaged screens.
A police spokesman said: “People are agreeing to the deal and paying cash, but when they get home and look at the televisions, they are faulty. If you’re not buying goods from a legitimate business or sale and have a receipt, you have no way of claiming your money back. These goods may be stolen and buying stolen goods fuels crime and is ultimately illegal.
"The price might seem low to you, but the real price could be that you’re left with a faulty item with no chance of return. Also if you buy stolen goods, you are not the legal owner and if it is seized by police you will have no rights to get it back."
If you see anyone selling such goods, please report it to Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or to Suffolk Police on 101.

Beware these mystery funeral planners

SUFFOLK Trading Standards have been made aware of businesses cold-calling in Lowestoft, offering funeral planning services. Whilst this is a perfectly legal method of doing business under normal circumstances, we are concerned by the particular practices being employed by these callers.
According to reports, the representatives of the business have been knocking on doors in the Warren Road and Corton Road area of Lowestoft.
Allegedly, the callers are not carrying identification, they are not giving out their names when asked and, most importantly of all, are allegedly making the following claims that are false:
Their funeral planning services are Government backed. The Government has passed a law that requires over 60’s to have a funeral plan. See full story

Funeral

Ghost companies shut down by police

A BOGUS business set up to fraudulently obtain money has been shut down by the Government.
3D Media Ltd, registered to Nobel Square, on the Burnt Mills industrial estate, Basildon, was one of six “phantom” companies closed by the High Court after winding-up orders were presented by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. No-one was based at the listed address of 3D Media Ltd, which sought credit from suppliers to obtain electrical goods worth more than £49,000.
The six companies closed down by the Government were all linked, with all but one business set up by the same person, Jade Evans, who has not been tracked down.
The court heard more than 50 businesses had been formed by Ms Evans as part of a network of companies engaged in “systematic fraud."
Each of the six bogus companies had fictitious directors and were engaged in identity theft, the filing of false accounts, and ordering goods regardless of the price quoted by the supplier.

Victim Support

Not all tradesmen are rogues says Craig

ROGUE tradesmen, as we all know, give builders, plumbers, painters, joiners, electricians and roofers a bad name and get them all branded as cowboys.
The media must accept their share of the blame for this because only horrific stories of bad workmanship ever make the headlines even though they make up a small proportion of the work carried out across the country every day.
However, a recent survey of 2000 consumers and 320 tradesmen in the UK by insurance giants AXA has confirmed what Checkatrade has been saying for years – that most tradesmen are reliable, dependable and professional. See full story