A Killyleagh builder was today given 240 hours community service at Belfast Magistrates’ Court for offences involving fraud and theft in connection with loft conversions he agreed to carry out.
In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Mr James Gordon of Grove Gardens, Killyleagh, Co. Down was found guilty at an earlier hearing on 14 May 2013 of offences under the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969, the Fraud Act 2006 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Sentencing was adjourned until today’s hearing.
In one case where Mr Gordon agreed to carry out a loft conversion he obtained £3,050 upfront from the householders to buy steel beams and wooden joists. However, these materials were never supplied and the work on the loft was never started.
In a similar case Mr Gordon took £3,700 from the householders to buy steel beams and wooden joists for a loft conversion and again the materials never appeared and work on the loft conversion was never started. In neither of these cases was any of the money repaid by Mr Gordon.
In another case Mr Gordon was found to have breached the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 by carrying on his business in an unprofessional manner. He failed to complete a loft conversion to the price, standard and timescale agreed with the client. For example, he quoted July 2011 as a completion date for the loft conversion but the job was still incomplete in June 2012.
Kevin McNamara of the Trading Standards Service said: “These cases show that Mr Gordon’s main concern was to get as much money upfront as he could from his clients. In two of these cases his clients were left with nothing to show in return for a substantial outlay. In all the cases he kept stringing his clients along with false promises about the progress of the work and when it would be completed. He breached the trust of his clients in a calculated fashion.”
The Trading Standards Service advise a number of checks that can be carried out before engaging a builder; get a number of quotes for any building work, ask if you can speak to previous clients whom the builder has completed work for and check if the builder is a member of a trade association (they usually have a complaints procedure should things go wrong). Once a builder has been engaged don’t pay out large sums in advance of work being completed.
Anyone who requires further advice about their rights with respect to building or any other work should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.]]>