Elderly Herefordshire resident was deceived into buying unnecessary and expensive spray foam loft insulation

Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards service is advising the public to be vigilant of unsolicited cold callers and doorstep sellers.

A Bournemouth salesman has been given a three month suspended prison sentence in a case taken to Worcester Crown Court by the council’s Trading Standards team. Mr Francis Ballyntyne (47) of Harcourt Road, Bournemouth was working as a commission-only salesman for Eco Roof Ltd. He pleaded guilty to two unfair trading offences and sentencing took place at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday 26 September 2019.

The court heard that Eco Roof Ltd was one of many companies in Bournemouth which used databases of elderly home owners to target them for unnecessary work at excessive prices. Mr Ballyntyne made false statements to a 72-year-old woman from Lyonshall, including that fibre glass loft insulation was now deemed inadequate and she would save 35% on her fuel bills if the spray foam insulation was installed. The discounted price of £3495 was deemed to be three times more than what a chartered surveyor estimated as reasonable. The victim became suspicious after the work was done the very next day, breaching her legal 14 day cooling off period, and she cancelled her cheque for the balance.

In addition to the suspended prison term, Ballyntyne was ordered to repay the victim the £700 deposit she had paid as well as £2000 towards prosecution costs.

Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council’s Acting Assistant Director for Regulatory, Environment and Waste said:

“We want family, friends and neighbours to remain vigilant and to protect 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.

“The way that vulnerable elderly home owners are sold spray foam loft insulation and roof and wall coatings is a scam. This particular case demonstrates the aggressive sales technique and price inflation that rogue companies use to scam Herefordshire residents into agreeing to unnecessary or poor quality work.”

Anyone concerned about the activity of a doorstep seller is urged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Published: 1st October 2019