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Traders Warned To Give Consumers Cancellation Rights


9:19am 15th May 2012

Dorset County Council's trading standards service is warning traders to give consumers the cancellation rights they are entitled to after a man was prosecuted for selling gardening services door-to-door in Dorset.
Henry Maurice Black, 50, of Oaktree Field Caravan Site, Salisbury, was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £477 costs after pleading guilty to two offences at Bournemouth Magistrates Court of failing to give a consumer cancellation rights.  

Mr Black had called at the home of a 92-year-old woman in Corfe Castle and offered to cut some trees, initially asking for £1,500 but later reducing this to £500. He started work immediately without giving her the required written notice of her right to cancel the contract within seven days. The court was told that the value of the work was about £50.

In mitigation, the court heard that Mr Black could neither read nor write, that he lived in a borrowed caravan, made his living offering gardening services, and that had learned his lesson from this experience.

Ivan Hancock, trading standards service manager at Dorset County Council, said:

"The current laws that help control unfair doorstep selling have strengthened consumer protection considerably and we intend to uphold them.

"For far too long vulnerable residents have found themselves out of pocket after uninvited calls from traders selling their services door-to-door often using high pressure techniques to pressurise them into agreeing to have work done."

"Any consumer agreeing to have work done by a trader calling at their home, costing more than £35, is entitled to a seven day cooling-off period during which they can cancel the job. These rights must be confirmed in writing and include the name and address of the trader.

"That's absolutely reasonable given the history of problems with doorstep callers."

For advice about complying with these legal requirements, contact the Trading Standards Business Advice Line on 01305 224702.

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