Window company fined £48,000 for misleading vulnerable customers
A company which sells replacement windows has been fined £48,000 and its director given a suspended jail term.
The Energy Saving Centre Ltd, who trade as Energiglass, have been fined a total of £48,000 at Leeds Crown Court for breaching consumer protection legislation.
Some of the offending involves elderly or vulnerable people, Trading Standards said.
The company, which predominantly sells and fits replacement windows, pleaded guilty to eight offences of using sales practices which were misleading.
Agents on behalf of the defendants made numerous false claims that consumers were entitled to receive government grants, subsidies or reimbursement from the government if they proceeded to replace their windows.
Among those affected were an 85 year old man, an 84 year old retired GP, a 75 year old lady suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and a retired blind lady.
Danyal Uddin, the sole director of the company pleaded guilty to 4 similar offences. In addition the company pleaded guilty to an offence of refusing to refund a deposit to a customer.
Uddin was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 2 years and was disqualified from acting as a company director for 4 years.
The conviction was secured by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), a partnership between West Yorkshire Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police, Adult Social Care professionals and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, with the aim of combating rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable and protecting them from financial abuse.
The company were also ordered to pay victim compensation of £17,400, and prosecution costs of £57,402.08.
Linda Davis, Head of West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team commented: “I hope this case will serve as a warning to those sectors of the home improvement industry who put the pursuit of profit before ethical and commercial standards. If anyone, including sales personnel or ex sales personnel has any information about any illegal sales tactics please contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454 04 05 06.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), who has helped to provide joint funding for the specialist Trading Standards Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team, said: “This is another positive result for the joint specialist team and I hope it brings some comfort and closure to the affected victims.
"We will not tolerate anyone looking to exploit our communities, doubly so when they are targeting more vulnerable people. We will continue to work together to tackle rogue trading across West Yorkshire and beyond, and I congratulate the WYFEAT on their diligent work to date.”