£2,000 fine for doorstep trader over driveway work

PUBLISHED: 14:19 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 06 May 2010

AN elderly man from St Albans was targeted by a doorstep caller who persuaded him to part with money for a new driveway. A neighbour of the victim, who has not been named, contacted Herts Trading Standards after seeing Patrick Connors working on the driv

AN elderly man from St Albans was targeted by a doorstep caller who persuaded him to part with money for a new driveway.

A neighbour of the victim, who has not been named, contacted Herts Trading Standards after seeing Patrick Connors working on the driveway and being concerned because his victim was elderly and lived alone.

Last week Connors pleaded guilty to various offences at St Albans Magistrates Court following a Trading Standards investigation.

Connors escalated the cost of resurfacing the victim's driveway after he started work. He failed to issue a cancellation notice, explaining a consumer's right to a seven-day cooling-off period to change their mind, and used a false address.

At the hearing he also admitted failing to surrender to custody having been released on bail. Connors, of Houghton Regis, Dunstable, was fined a total of £2,091 which included £276 court costs awarded to Herts Trading Standards.

The court heard that the victim had been cold-called by two workmen who lied by telling him that they were doing some work for his neighbours. They arrived in a van labelled Terrific Drives but used a different trading name and address of David White Contractors, Kensworth, Dunstable, for their advertising flyers and business paperwork which had nothing to do with the company.

Police were called to assist trading standards officers and Connors fled the scene but he was later caught and arrested.

Magistrates gave Connors credit for showing genuine remorse and his early guilty plea. He maintained he had agreed to drive the car for his boss that day

County councillor Richard Smith, executive member for community safety, said:: "The defendant used a number of tactics typical of doorstep traders. As well as giving a false address and charging spiralling costs, he broke regulations which are in place to protect consumers from entering into extortionate or unwanted contracts due to the high-pressure sales techniques of uninvited traders who call door to door.

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