Idrains Southern Ltd, of Henleaze House, Harbury Road, Bristol, was fined £2,500 at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 12 April 2019 following an investigation by officers from the Public Protection Partnership Trading Standards team.
The conviction resulted from the conduct of the business during a call out by a Wokingham homeowner in June 2017.
The homeowner was experiencing non-urgent drainage issues and the business charged £630 for work which failed to rectify the problem. The business then quoted for additional work for the installation of a new soakaway of £6,000 stating that they would only deduct the initial £630 paid if the homeowner agreed to the additional work within 48 hours.
This practice was found to be a banned practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 namely that it falsely stated that the service would only be available on particular terms for a very limited time in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.
Commenting on the case Sean Murphy, public protection manager, said: “The banning of time limited offers is an important protection for consumers. It is right that people do not feel pressured into making decisions. If any consumer feels they are being pressured into making decisions they should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Line on 03454 04 05 06.”
The company failed to attend Court and the Court proceeded in their absence finding the single charge under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 proven. Idrains Southern Ltd were fined to £2,500, ordered to pay £170 victims’ surcharge and £3,715.50 toward prosecution costs.
The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council and delivers trading standards, environmental health and licensing functions.