A South Gloucestershire rogue trader who targeted a 91-year-old Kingswood resident has been fined £900 and ordered to pay £500 in costs at Bristol Magistrates Court, following a successful prosecution by South Gloucestershire Council’s Trading Standards service.
Richard O’Driscoll (22) of Northwood Park, Winterbourne, appeared before Magistrates after being arrested on warrant due to non-attendance at court. O’Driscoll, who traded as Rightseal Roofing, pleaded guilty to three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which were committed in March 2021.
The case was investigated by Trading Standards following a complaint that O’Driscoll had cold-called at the home of the 91-year-old lady and informed her that some tiles were loose on her roof.
He implied that he was working on the property opposite where a building company was currently carrying out work. As the resident believed he was from a reputable company, she decided to have the alleged problem rectified.
O’Driscoll was said to have carried out 45 minutes work on the ridge tiles of the property and requested £350 in cash, which was paid. However, the victim’s family did not believe that any work needed doing in the first place.
On further investigation it was established that O’Driscoll had failed to comply with legislation on doorstep sales and provide his customer with details of their cooling off rights, despite being advised by Trading Standards about this in 2016.
O’Driscoll’s tactics were also of concern to Trading Standards as he was shown to have started work within the 14-day cancellation period and without the express request of his customer, thereby committing a separate offence of an aggressive commercial practice.
Trading Standards gave O’Driscoll the opportunity to resolve this matter informally and return the £350 to his customer on two separate occasions but he failed to do so. As a result, the Court fined him £900 and awarded his customer £350 compensation. He was also ordered to pay £500 of South Gloucestershire Council’s costs.
South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Local Place, Cllr Rachael Hunt said: “Richard O’Driscoll has been advised previously by Trading Standards and was aware about the law on doorstep selling but carried-on with the practice regardless. Where a trader is not complying with the law in this way it will not be tolerated, no matter how big or small the loss to our residents, and we will pursue the matter through the courts if necessary.
“Residents should be aware that if any such agreement is made in the home, they should be provided with the trader’s business details and advised of their 14-day cancellation rights. We remind residents that if they are not sure, do not answer the door.”
Anyone who suspects that rogue traders are operating in their area is advised to contact Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133.