Rogue trader fined

A rogue trader who over charged and intimidated a retired Salford woman has been fined.

Patrick Joseph Ward, trading as PW Garden Services, originally quoted £6,840 for roofing, guttering and garden landscaping work but presented a final bill of £15,800.

His client, Geraldine Ward, told Salford City Council’s trading standards officers that Mr Ward (no relation) spent two hours outside her brother’s house refusing to leave until she made a bank transfer of £7,400 and the standard of work carried out was poor. The astro turf he laid has to be held down with bricks in windy weather otherwise it blows into next door's garden.

Mr Ward of Acresfield Close, Swinton, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 relating to carrying out a poor standard of work and aggressive commercial practices.

He appeared at Manchester and Salford magistrates court on Wednesday 11 December and was fined £768 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

The court heard that Geraldine Ward asked Mr Ward to carry out building work and flag her overgrown garden at Gerald Road, Salford. He provided a quote of £6,840 in February 2018, which Miss Ward accepted.

Work began at the end of May and continued to the end of June with Mr Ward, his brother and two or three labourers sporadically on site. During this time significant work was added to the original scheme. Miss Ward asked Mr Ward to carry out other work both at her home and her brother’s for which she was given two verbal quotes of £700 and £900 and sometimes no quote at all.

Mr Ward also suggested additional work and told her some of it would be free, describing it as a gift or treat and that he would not charge for labour for some of the work, only for the cost of the materials.

A few weeks into the job Mr Ward told her that the costs had escalated to £14,000. Miss Ward was shocked by this as said she had only expected the original quote to rise by £1,600. When Miss Ward tried to withdraw money from the bank to pay him the bank became suspicious of this large amount of money being withdrawn and called the police.

Apart from the original quote she was given no paperwork and no updates on cost until June when the police requested Mr Ward provide her with an itemised invoice which was for £15,800.

Salford City Council’s trading standards team arranged for a building expert to inspect the work. He said the cost was unfair and unreasonable as the work, which was unfinished, was of very poor quality and only worth in the region of £6,400. Miss Ward had paid £7,400.

Speaking after the case Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “Traders who try to exploit customers by failing to confirm any changes to the original quote in writing and promising what they don’t deliver are not welcome in Salford and I hope this case sends that as a clear message.”

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Date published
Thursday 12 December 2019

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