The Energy Saving Centre, trading as Energiglass, has been fined a total of £48,000 at Leeds Crown Court for breaching consumer protection legislation and offending involving elderly or vulnerable people.
The company’s sole director, Danyal Uddin, was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was disqualified from acting as a company director for four years.
The conviction was secured by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT). This is a multi-agency partnership between West Yorkshire Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police, Adult Social Care professionals and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, with the aim of combatting rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable and protecting them from financial abuse. The company was also ordered to pay victim compensation of £17,400 and prosecution costs of £57,402.08.
The company, which predominantly sells and fits replacement windows, pleaded guilty to eight offences of using sales practices which were misleading. Uddin pleaded guilty to four similar offences.
Agents on behalf of the defendants made numerous false claims that consumers were entitled to receive government grants, subsidies or reimbursement if they replaced their windows. In addition the company pleaded guilty to an offence of refusing to refund a deposit to a customer.
Among those affected were an 85-year-old man, an 84-year-old retired GP, a 75-year-old woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and a retired blind woman.
Linda Davis, Head of WYFEAT, commented: “I hope this case will serve as a warning to those sectors of the home improvement industry who put the pursuit of profit before ethical and commercial standards. If anyone, including sales personnel or ex sales personnel has any information about any illegal sales tactics please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454 04 05 06.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), who has helped to provide joint funding for the specialist Trading Standards Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team, said: “This is another positive result for the joint specialist team and I hope it brings some comfort and closure to the affected victims.
“We will not tolerate anyone looking to exploit our communities, doubly so when they are targeting more vulnerable people. We will continue to work together to tackle rogue trading across West Yorkshire and beyond, and I congratulate the WYFEAT on their diligent work to date.”