CONSUMER watchdogs have vowed to step up their fight against ‘cowboy’ tradesmen in West Yorkshire.
The pledge followed a court case against businessman Graham Smith.
Smith, a director of 1st Call Conversions Limited of Gelderd Road, Leeds was fined £2,500 at Leeds Crown Court for a series of false claims he made about his business between September 2007 and March 2008.
Officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) had investigated the trading activities of 1st Call Conversions Limited, a company specialising in domestic loft conversions, following a number of consumer complaints.
They discovered that a quotation given to an Ilkley resident made claims that the company was a member of NICEIC – the electrical industry body who approves domestic electricians – and approved by Velux a leading designer and manufacturer of roof windows. Both claims were entirely false.
The contracts Smith entered into with the two complainants were never completed. The individuals concerned were left with combined losses of £50,000. Smith’s company ceased trading in May 2008.
Graham Hebblethwaite, the county’s Chief Trading Standards Officer, said: “Consumers who are spending thousands of pounds on building work are entitled to rely on the accuracy of any representations made by traders. Action will be taken against those who use unfair practices”.