A Weymouth roofer has been prosecuted and sentenced after pleading guilty to charging for work he did not do and unnecessary work at the homes of two women in Dorset, one aged 94, the other 67.
Frenny William Jordan (aged 60) of Wyke Road, Weymouth, trading as Ultimate Roofing and Building, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on 28 January and was given a 42-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work in the community. Mr Jordan must also pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs and attend 20 days of rehabilitation training. Arrangements are in place for him to compensate the consumers involved for the excess charges.
He had pleaded guilty to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and one offence under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. The prosecution followed an investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards.
The court heard how the first customer, a 67-year-old woman, living alone in a remote house near Bridport, West Dorset, contacted Mr Jordan for a quote to clear her guttering and install a water butt. Jordan gave a verbal quote of £180 but did not provide written details, including the customer’s right to cancel the contract. When work started on the property, Jordan then claimed work needed doing to her roof which he tried to charge her £1,750 for. The customer said that she could not afford to pay that but agreed to pay £1,500 by cheque. Jordan insisted on being paid in cash. When the customer explained that she could not drive to the bank as her leg was in a cast, Jordan demanded that he drove her to the bank in her car.
A building surveyor later examined the work carried out and found that the work should not have cost more than £450. When confronted with this Jordan claimed he had to pay for scaffolding and roofing boards and as a result actually made a loss on the work. He provided trading standards officers with an invoice for the scaffolding from a local company, but this was later proved to be a false document.
At the second property, in Weymouth the customer, a 94-year-old woman, asked Jordan for a quote to replace a porch roof as she believed some of the timbers were rotten and it was letting in water. Again, he failed to provide the customer with the required written details on her right to cancel the contract. Once the work had started Jordan then claimed that the roof felt under the first two rows of tiles was rotten and needed replacing. In total he charged the customer £1,500 for the work.
Jordan returned a few days after finishing the work claiming he wanted to look in her garage for some tools his workers had left behind. Once in the garage he found some water on an electric cable and told the customer that the roof was leaking and needed repairs. He quoted her over £1,400 for the repairs he claimed were needed.
When a building surveyor inspected the porch, he found that no timbers had been replaced and the original felt was still in place. The work that had been carried out should have only cost around £200. He also found that the garage roof was not letting in water and did not need any repairs.
Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, said:
“It just isn’t acceptable for builders or other businesses to mislead customers and abuse their trust. Our Trading Standards team continues to investigate consumer complaints. They will challenge any such behaviour and take formal action in appropriate cases such as this. Consumers also need to think very carefully when employing traders to carry out significant work.”
Trading Standards recommend obtaining more than one quote and avoiding paying large deposits or payments up front. If unfamiliar with any suggested work or what might be a reasonable price they also recommend talking to somebody else, including friends, family or neighbours and ideally another business.
To report concerns about traders operating in your area the first point of contact is the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. When selecting a trader to do work for you Trading Standards advise that you always consider the Buy With Confidence approved trader scheme. Details are also available by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.