Suffolk tradesman ordered to stop operating his building business

Published

A builder from Hinton, near Saxmundham, has been issued with a Crown Court Restraining Order to prevent him from carrying out any work on consumers’ properties.

Bill Simpson, 60, was issued on 11 March 2019 with a Restraining Order under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 at Ipswich Crown Court, following action by Suffolk Trading Standards.

Three years ago, Simpson was jailed and fined for carrying out roofing work without permission. This recent case relates to alleged substandard work which he carried out when cleaning and resealing an elderly consumer’s driveway.

The order prevents Mr Simpson, or anyone acting on his behalf, from advertising or undertaking building, home improvement or maintenance work. The order is indefinite and could see Mr Simpson imprisoned for up to five years if it is breached.

Following a complaint to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Lowestoft, Suffolk Trading Standards officials investigated Mr Simpson. The 92-year-old victim had paid him £1,775 for the work on their driveway, more than double what it should have cost. For the work to be done to an acceptable standard, an expert valued the job at no more than £775. Mr Simpson’s work was deemed to be of substandard quality and only worth £500.

Mr Simpson did not provide a breakdown of costs to the consumer, nor did he provide cancellation rights and he failed to rectify the substandard work.

James Garrett, the Suffolk Trading Standards Officer leading on the case, said:

“Mr Simpson is well known to our service and has clearly not learnt from his previous dealings. For most services or goods that are sold to you at your home, the trader must give you a written notice of your cancellation rights when you agree a contract. If they don't provide you with this information, they are committing a criminal offence. You also have 14 days to cancel the agreement and if you cancel, any monies that you have paid should be returned to you.”

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County’s Council cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said:

“This is a great result for Suffolk Trading Standards. It sends out a clear message that we will take all appropriate steps to ensure that consumers are protected from being exploited by unfair trading practices.”

If you are concerned that a rogue trader may be at your door, you should immediately call the Police on 101 or Trading Standards via the National Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.