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Consumer news, Trading Standards prosecutions

Rogue trader ordered to repay elderly victim £27,500

Posted on: 9 November 2023

A rogue trader has been ordered to pay almost £40,000 after convincing a pensioner to let him carry out roofing work that wasn’t needed.

The victim, from Somerset, used her life savings.   

Mervyn Rhys Richards, 43, of Swindon, was ordered to pay a fine of £6,500, £190 victim surcharge, £4,250 towards prosecution costs and £27,500 in compensation after pleading guilty at Taunton Magistrates Court on Monday (November 6).

Our trading standards Service prosecuted Rhys Richards, who traded as MR Build IT Property Maintenance, for one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

In March 2022 Rhys Richards responded to a job advert asking for a repair on a roof.

Richards visited the property and told the elderly householder that the repair could only be ‘guaranteed’ if the roof was replaced, at a cost of £27,500.

The victim called Avon & Somerset Police as they felt they had been a victim of a scam, who in turn contacted us at Heart of the South West Trading Standards.

An independent surveyor employed by us later examined the roof and concluded that the work was not reasonably necessary, it was overcharged, it was not in accordance with the invoice or British Standards and the value of the work was estimated to be nil because of the remedial work required.

In summing up, District Judge Brereton said that the victim was elderly and had used their life savings to pay for the work – but gave Rhys Richards credit for his guilty plea, that he showed genuine remorse and is committed to recompensing the victim.

Alex Fry, Operations Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said: “This case hopefully sends a clear message to rogue traders that where necessary we will put you before the Courts. I would like to thank the victim in this case for coming forward and reporting the incident and supporting the investigation.”