Devon & Somerset Trading Standards Prosecutions
Rogue carpet cleaner gets cleaned out
22 November 2017
A company director convicted of fraud, who operated two carpet cleaning companies, will have to pay back in full the £219,007.12 that he made from his crime if assets are identified in the future.
Adam Joseph Vaillier, 35, of Hannington Road, Pokesdown, Bournemouth, had traded as A Star Carpet Cleaning Ltd and Premier Carpet Cleaning Ltd. He was investigated by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards following complaints from consumers about the price they had been charged.
Vallier travelled around the country targeting predominantly elderly people, enticing them with a ‘special offer’ to clean two carpets for £19. But once through the door, he or one of his operatives increased the price, to over £440 in one case.
Vallier appeared before Exeter Crown Court on Friday 17 November for a Confiscation Hearing. He had already spent most of the ill-gotten gains and had no personal assets with which to pay back the proceeds of his crimes.
He was ordered to pay £350 within two weeks, which represented all that he had left in his bank accounts, but he will remain liable for the remainder of the £219,007.12, until every penny is repaid.
Last year he was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid community work. He has also been disqualified from being a Director for nine years, after enquiries were made by the Insolvency Service following on from the information supplied to them by Trading Standards.
Recorder Mr Adam Vaitilingam QC described Vallier’s behaviour as cavalier, corrupt and deeply unpleasant. The crimes committed by Vallier had a significant impact on his victims.
‘At the time I felt foolish, I realised I had made a mistake but it was too late then. I was angry with myself. I was upset, I take things to heart. I do not trust people who come to the house since this has happened.’ [Female victim aged 84 at the time the crime was committed].
‘At the time I was astonished when they told me the cost. I felt defenceless, I had been taken in by them…It made me think I was old and weak and irresponsible…It made me nervous ever since it happened to me. I was upset, I wasn’t happy, it was extortion.’ [Female victim aged 82 at the time the crime was committed].
‘I felt I had been a fool, what a stupid woman, I was very angry with myself. My background was as a professional person so I could not understand how I had been taken in. I couldn’t believe I had done such a stupid thing. I was very cross, I couldn’t sleep at night.’ [Female victim aged 76 at the time the crime was committed].
‘My contact with Adam Joseph Vallier has had a significant impact on me, giving me feelings of vulnerability, violation, lack of judgement and anger…It will take some time before I will feel able to trust unfamiliar tradespeople again, or indeed my own judgement, which is even more significant. I also feel invaded. I consider my home to be a safe place, people only enter at my invitation and with my trust. Mr Vallier has destroyed the feeling of security I had. He violated my safe place, under false pretences…I have always maintained a core of belief that people basically are decent, and do not wish to do me personally any harm. This experience has destroyed that feeling in my heart, and for that I am very angry.’ [Female victim aged 67 at the time the crime was committed].
Paul Thomas, Head of Service at Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards Service said:
‘The impact of rogue trading on elderly victims cannot be underestimated and can lead to feelings of distrust, anger and anxiety. As well as the effect on the victims, rogue traders such as Adam Vallier tarnish the image of legitimate businesses. It is therefore reassuring that he has been disqualified from being a Director for a considerable period of time.
The Trading Standards Service will continue to work hard to ensure that rogue traders such as Vallier will be brought to justice. Rogue traders cause harm not just to consumers but to legitimate, honest hard working traders and society as a whole.’
The importance of using recognised, suitably qualified and accredited tradesmen should not be underestimated. We would advise anyone who is considering having work done in their home to use Trading Standards approved traders in their area by following the link to the Buy With Confidence website.
Follow our advice on how to protect yourself from scams. If you think you have been a victim of a scam you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
To report any trading activity you are concerned about, and to get practical advice on your rights you can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.