A trader in Oxfordshire who conned a victim in to having unneccessary gardening work done has been sentenced to a 12-week custodial sentence and ordered to pay a £500 fine, £700 towards the council’s prosecution costs, and a £50 victim surcharge.
David Smith from Botley in Oxfordshire, trading as AS Garden Services, cold-called his victim last July and charged £1,170 for cutting trees in the garden.
Smith had coerced his victim into having extra work done by indicating that a tree would fall onto the pavement and injure a member of the public. He then demanded extra money. He also failed to issue the correct paperwork, including the 14-day cancellation period required by law.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team brought the prosecution, which was heard at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.
He pleaded guilty to committing an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for an aggressive practice, and under The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations, for failing to give the appropriate cancellation notice.
This action comes after a similar prosecution against Smith in March 2018, when he was found guilty of carrying out work at another Oxfordshire victim’s home to a very poor standard, and leaving no paperwork.
On that occasion, he pleaded guilty to committing fraud by false representation and was handed a 24-month suspended sentence, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay his victim £3,000 compensation.
Jody Kerman, Operations Manager at Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, said: “This case shows that trading standards will take action against those who deceive vulnerable members of the public by making them believe work is needed when it is not, harassing them for payment and failing to make their customers aware of their legal rights.
“Members of the public should be aware of these scams and keep an eye out for those who may be vulnerable to the activities of rogue traders.”