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Drainage company admits ‘unfair trading’ and pays back £20k to victims

Posted on: 18 December 2020

A drainage company has been fined £3,685 after pleading guilty to unfair trading and has paid back over £20,000 to victims across Devon, Somerset, Torbay, Dorset and Wiltshire following a Trading Standards investigation. 

Dorset-based 24 Hour Emergency Services Limited, of Unit 1, 20 Wharfdale Service Road, Bournemouth, was investigated by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards after complaints that the company had repeatedly inflated costs, charged for unnecessary work and charged victims for work that was never carried out.

Plymouth Magistrates Court heard how the company was misleading and untruthful in dealing with seven customers from Tavistock, Paignton, Exeter, Chard, Somerton, Wimborne and Chippenham between February and September 2019.

One customer was charged £5,500 for unnecessary drainage work. Another was charged more than £4,000 for drain lining when all that was needed was the clearance of a blockage at £95.

Alex Roddis, Trading Standards Manager for Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said:
“This company charged consumers exorbitant rates for work on their drainage systems. Often these consumers were in a difficult position, with acute sewage problems and they trusted the company to act fairly and legally. To make things worse, the company failed to do work properly or sometimes at all. Much of the work was unnecessary.
“Consumers are right to expect traders to act fairly and legally. 24 Hour Emergency Services Limited failed to do so.
“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.”

The company has paid £20,562.50 in compensation, which Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards will disperse to the victims in this case. A contribution towards costs of £4,030 was also made to the Trading Standards Service.