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Business news, Consumer news, Trading Standards prosecutions

Bridgwater businessman sentenced for fraud

Posted on: 9 October 2020

A Bridgwater businessman has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 200 hours community after pleading guilty to nine offences under the Fraud Act.

Martin Fisher, 46, of Bristol Road, Bridgwater was investigated by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards after complaints that he repeatedly failed to carry out repairs or fulfil orders for household electrical appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, fridges and fridge-freezers.

Mr Fisher took over ‘Jeff Fisher Domestic Appliance Repairs and Sales’ when his father retired, and the business quickly fell into disrepute due to his poor conduct.

Trading Standards Officers had previously contacted Mr Fisher to provide advice, but his actions did not improve and so a formal investigation was launched.

Taunton Magistrates Court heard how Mr Fisher exploited his father’s good reputation and broke the trust of eight customers from Burnham on Sea, Highbridge, North Petherton and Bridgwater between September 2017 and July 2019 by accepting payment for repairing or supplying electrical appliances and then failing to carry out the work.

Steve Gardiner, Legal Process Manager for Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said: “Mr Fisher’s actions were a gross breach of trust. He was invited into people’s homes based on his father’s previous good reputation and then he stole from them by taking money for services and products that he didn’t supply.

“We always seek to support legitimate businesses and provide advice, but we will not tolerate traders taking advantage of people, and where needed will take necessary action through the courts to protect consumers.

“If you’re looking for a reputable tradesperson, we advise you to use those that are members of our Buy With Confidence scheme as they are Trading Standards approved.”

Mr Fisher was ordered to pay £2459.14 in compensation to the victims, and a contribution in costs of £1420 to Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards.