Roofer ordered to compensate customers

A roofer has been ordered to pay almost £25,000 to two customers after it was found his work at their homes had been of a poor standard and significantly overpriced.

John Smith admitted seven charges of breaching Trading Standards regulations when he appeared in court recently, including wrongly advertising his business as a family-run local organisation in the Yellow Pages.

Teesside Crown Court heard how one man from Great Ayrton hired Mr Smith in April last year to fix his roof. In total, he paid £19,250 for the work, but prosecutor Sam Faulks said an expert surveyor later found it to be worth just £2,960.

The surveyor also noted there were "a whole catalogue of problems" with the repairs made at the site by the roofer.

In another case, a woman in Harrogate paid him £1,400 to have her roof repaired. She was told it was guaranteed for 20 years, but it started to leak again within just a few days and she later suffered from anxiety.

Mr Smith had been told by Trading Standards in 2010 that he should tell customers about their seven-day right to cancel, but he failed to do so. This meant the woman was not refunded her £1,400.

Lisa Roberts, defending, explained: "The offences are confined to a neglect of duty rather than there being any suggestion of fraudulent behaviour or dishonesty or aggression. This is not a situation where there have been years of repeated complaints against so-called rogue traders."

Nonetheless, Mr Smith must now repay a significant sum of money. He was told by judge Michael Taylor he would have to cough up £16,289 in compensation for the first customer and £1,400 to the second, as well as more than £7,000 in costs.

Judge Taylor added that he could have chosen to send Mr Smith to prison, but this was not the best option as it would potentially have meant the money is never paid and the two customers would go without compensation for their troubles.

By Chris Stevenson