Rogue company and director fined for deceiving 87 year old Herefordshire resident with unnecessary roofing repairs

A rogue company and director, which preyed on elderly residents in Herefordshire, has received fines for ‘unfair trading’ in a case taken to Hereford Magistrates Court, concluding on Friday 27 April 2018.

GER (Southern) Ltd and its director Martin Hancox, 43, from Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to unfair trading charges following a case taken to Hereford Magistrates Court by Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards team. GER (Southern) Ltd and Hancox received fines and costs totalling £20,343.

The company used databases to cold call elderly residents, and one victim was an 87 year old gentleman from Bartestree, Hereford. In 2014, the gentleman was mis-sold spray foam insulation work at the inflated cost of £5,000. A further unsolicited phone call followed in June 2017, where the gentleman was coerced into agreeing to an appointment where he was falsely told that moss on his roof had caused a leak. Eventually he was deceived into agreeing to further work to the value of £3,200, when in fact the work was unnecessary and worthless.

Director Martin Hancox stated to the court that he was unaware of the incident and it was the actions of rogue staff in his company that led to the offences, but as director he felt he had to take responsibility.

Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council’s Head of Regulatory and Development Management Services, said:

“The way that vulnerable elderly home owners are sold roof and wall coatings is a scam - this case is just one in a series of rogue trader prosecutions our Trading Standards team have recently pursued. This particular case demonstrates the aggressive sales technique and price inflation that rogue companies use to scam our residents into agreeing to unnecessary or poor quality work.

“GER (Southern) Ltd are one of a string of companies that target the elderly for unnecessary spray foam insulation. To make matters worse, this company returned to a previous victim to deceive them for a second time.

“We want family, friends and neighbours to remain vigilant in protecting elderly residents who are often the target of such scams. I would urge people to never respond to unsolicited telephone calls, mail shots, text messages or door-to-door selling. By responding to this unsolicited contact, victims are likely to be put onto a mailing list and have their information sold to other scammers.”

There is further advice on being scam aware at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/scams and those who believe they have been affected by rogue trading can call Herefordshire Trading Standards on 01432 261761.

Published: Tuesday, 1st May 2018