An aggressive rogue trader who bullied an elderly and vulnerable Polesworth couple in to agreeing to pay over £11,000 for work to their roof which they had not agreed to has been sent to prison.
Paul Raybone (aged 47 of The Riddings, Amington, Tamworth) who traded under the name of Rooftech visited the couple’s home after they found a slight leak in their roof. Rather than simply fix the leak, Raybone exaggerated the amount of repair work required and bullied the couple in to spending £11,600 on repairs that that they had not asked for and did not want. He did not advise the couple of their statutory right to cancel the contract and refused to provide a written quote until the work was completed. When he finally produced an invoice this was in the name of a company which did not exist and displayed ‘trust marks’ for associations of which he was not a member.
The couple paid Raybone £2000 before visiting their bank to withdraw another £9,600. When the couple arrived, quick thinking bank staff spotted there was a problem and advised them to contact Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards. The Service acted quickly, preventing any more money from being paid and launched an investigation.
Trading Standards Officers discovered that the work Raybone had carried out, which included some ridge tile repointing, replacing of lead flashing and facias and guttering work was partly unnecessary, poorly done and vastly overcharged.
Despite Trading Standards Officers ordering Raybone not to make direct contact with the elderly couple Raybone went back demanding money, having previously already threatened to remove materials from their roof if he wasn’t paid.
In sentencing Raybone His Honour Judge Potter stated that he had “deliberately frightened” the couple and “didn’t think twice” to consider how his bullying and aggressive behaviour would impact upon them.
The court heard that Raybone had previous convictions for violence and dishonesty.
At Warwick Crown Court on Friday 9th December 2018, Paul Raybone of Roof Tech PRR Limited, trading as Rooftech, having pleaded guilty to one count of fraud at a previous hearing, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, disqualified as a Company Director for five years and ordered to pay the complainants £1000 compensation.
In mitigation, Mr Mark Moore, representing Mr Raybone said that he co-operated by attending a voluntary interview with Trading Standards. He had paid for the advice of a solicitor and had produced revised business documents which he had asked Trading Standards to review. His client employed four people and had a child to provide for and was just about to move house.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“Tackling rogue traders who prey on vulnerable Warwickshire residents is a priority for our Trading Standards team. We will continue to take strong action against dishonest traders.”
Advice for consumers
- Rogue traders generally offer maintenance work such as gardening, driveway repair and roofing and quote low prices that are later inflated
- The work they carry out is of a very poor standard and often completely unnecessary
- Rogue traders may use false names and addresses and can be hard to trace
- Never buy from the door or from traders you don’t know or trust
- If you need a job done, seek quotes from local and reputable traders with reputations to maintain
- Use our approved trader schemes to find traders that are vetted and Trading Standards approved, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders
- Report rogue traders to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506
More information about the work of Trading Standards is available on the Warwickshire Website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards