West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), part of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, have secured a conviction of Terry Rogers, who traded as UK Everest Ltd.
Rogers of Yarm Road, Darlington, has been sentenced to 13 months imprisonment, been banned as a Director for 5 years and has agreed to pay £20,000 in compensation at Leeds Crown Court. Rogers had pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to eight offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at a previous hearing in January 2018.
The conviction followed a joint investigation between WYFEAT and Yorkshire and Humberside Police Regional Organised Crime Unit. The offences took place between May 2015 and December 2015. Rogers used the company name UK Everest Ltd in order to make customers believe they were dealing with the well-known national company. Rogers’ glossy leaflets stated “Think Best, Think UK Everest” and “say no to cowboy builders”. All the complainants who contacted Trading Standards thought they had dealt with the well-known national company.
Rogers initially quoted for work to be carried out to fascias, soffits and guttering but once work commenced additional defects would be found with the roof which would cause the cost to dramatically escalate. Customers faced with their roof stripped felt they had no other option but to agree to the extra work. One customer was initially quoted £3,695 but the price increased to £20,695 once the work commenced. An expert who inspected the work confirmed that the work was entirely unnecessary and complainants had been overcharged by between 4 and 17 times the going rate. The Court heard how Rogers travelled around the country to carry out work and that complaints were received from 7 consumers based in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire & the North East who lost just under £30,000.
Giles Bridge, prosecuting on behalf of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, told the court that many of the complainants were elderly, had suffered financial losses and felt embarrassed that they had fallen victim to the crimes.
Judge Batty told Rogers that the company name was deliberately chosen in order to mislead consumers. Judge Batty told Rogers that he had preyed on home owners with his unscrupulous conduct in order to make money for himself and this undermined the trust of the public on those legitimately carrying on work within the building trade.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Rogers actions were completely unacceptable and I welcome the outcome at court which will hopefully give his victims some form of closure. People like Rogers are every home owner’s worst nightmare when they use a ‘tradesperson’ and their actions then also unfairly affect consumer confidence for reputable tradespeople. Cases like this are exactly why I support and provided funding for the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team and this is another great result for them in bringing such an offender to justice and protecting the public from further frauds.”
Councillor Jo Hepworth, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said; ‘This case is another excellent result for WYFEAT and highlights the unfair practices that rogue traders will use against unsuspecting consumers. Rogers used a company name and advertising phrases similar to those of a well-known national company in order to trick consumers into believing they were dealing with the real company. I would advise consumers to do their research before employing traders to check that they are legitimate and to seek advice if the price of the work suddenly escalates. Anyone seeking advice on home improvements or doorstep sales should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service Helpline on 03454 04 05 06’.