Lurgan doorstep trader fined for misleading Belfast pensioner couple
A Lurgan trader was today fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,700 compensation to the victim at Laganside Magistrates’ Court for providing false business addresses on paperwork, failing to honour a 10 year guarantee and carrying out substandard work at a consumer’s home.
In a case brought by the Department for the Economy’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) Damien McCaughley (32) of Princess Street, Lurgan pleaded guilty to four charges under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
In June 2018 Mr McCaughley ‘cold called’ to the home of a pensioner couple in Belfast offering to carry out property maintenance work to their driveway. Mr McCaughley provided a flyer bearing the name “Northern Contractors” which showed photos of the type of home improvement work he could undertake.
The consumer agreed for Mr McCaughley to carry out repairs to his driveway and to re-plaster an external wall. The work was completed and a total of £1,700 was paid by the consumer to the trader. Mr McCaughley provided a receipt to the complainant stating that the work would be covered by a 10 year guarantee.
Within days of the work being carried out, the consumer noticed that the plaster on the wall had started to crack. He telephoned the trader and reported the problems. Mr McCaughley came out to the house and promised to return a few days later to fix the wall but never returned.
The consumer then wrote a letter of complaint to the business address provided on the flyer. The letter was returned undelivered as the address was false. This prevented the complainant from pursuing any legal redress against Mr McCaughley.
Alison Gilchrist of the Trading Standards Service said:
“Mr McCaughley took advantage of this elderly couple. He ‘cold called’ at their home, gave a false business address, did not provide cancellation rights and then completed work to a poor standard which he was unwilling to put right.
“Consumers should be careful and take their time before deciding to get work done to their home. Recommendation from friends and neighbours is always a better way of finding a reputable trader rather than engaging someone who calls unexpectedly to your home.”
Alison Gilchrist added:
“Consumers should be wary of responding to flyers, no matter how professional they look. In many cases, they contain false information leaving the doorstep trader difficult to trace when something goes wrong.”
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a rogue doorstep trader should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.