South Ockendon man fined thousands for “deceptive practices” in housing repairs

A MAN has been ordered to pay over £4,500 after admitting two charges under consumer protection legislation.

Craig Williams (30) who had been living at Gavenny Path, South Ockendon, at the time of the offences in 2015, but now is living at Broxburn Drive, South Ockendon, and admitted two charges of engaging in misleading practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations appeared before Basildon magistrates on Wednesday (1 March).

The court heard that in May 2015 a South Ockendon couple wanted some landscaping work done to their garden and obtained a quote of £6,300 from Williams, trading as Cutting Edge Maintenance and Landscaping.

They agreed a start date, the work was supposed to take about a week, and they paid £3,200 upfront. However there were immediate problems with workers not turning up and providing work of a poor quality.

A month later Williams was asked to leave the site and he negotiated a final payment of £2,800 by way of balance, conditional on the work being completed and to a proper standard. He never returned.

Also in June 2015 a Chafford Hundred man contacted Williams for a quote. It was agreed Williams would carry out work to the man’s garden for £3,700, with £1,900 in advance.

On the day Williams was due to start nobody turned up and despite numerous efforts to chase things up, Williams failed to do the work. The man asked for his money back, but no work was ever done, and no money refunded,

In both cases County Court Judgements were obtained against Williams, yet they remain unpaid.

Both sets of victims complained to Thurrock Council’s Trading Standards which initially sought to engage with Williams who made promised he did not fulfil. When interviewed under caution he insisted he had sent a refund cheque and did not know why it had not been received.

The council’s team then prosecuted Williams for his “deceptive practices” and the magistrates fined him £500 for the first offence, and £1,100 for the second. He was ordered to pay £3,000 in costs and a victim surcharge of £110.

Cllr Sue MacPherson, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods said: “My thanks go to the hardworking Trading Standards team who continue to work tirelessly to protect Thurrock residents.”

She added: “If you are asked for payment up front you should be immediately wary. Equally, if you have experienced similar problems with poor workmanship, failures to attend or rectify problems you should contact Thurrock Council’s Trading Standards by visiting thurrock.gov.uk/tradingstandards.”

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