Sefton Trading Standards has prosecuted a trader from Crosby, Liverpool, for misuse of the Gas Safe and NICEIC logos, as well as forging building certificates.
Daniel Howarth, trading as Crosby Property Maintenance, plead guilty at South Sefton Magistrates Court to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and one offence under the Consumer Rights Act.
These included the unauthorised use of a Gas Safe logo on Howarth’s website and forging building certificates supposedly from Sefton Council.
Howarth tried to pass Crosby Property Maintenance off as being Gas Safe registered, as well as approved by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).
Gas Safe Register contacted the trader in November 2016, requesting he remove the Gas Safe logo from his website. When he failed to comply, the case was passed to Trading Standards. David Smith, technical and registrations manager at Gas Safe Register, provided a witness statement to Trading Standards in August 2017.
When challenged about works he carried out at two different properties, he produced fake local authority building certificates claiming the building work had been assessed by qualified building control officers and deemed to be safe. In reality, the works were unsafe and homeowners were faced with a bill for further remedial works to comply with Building Regulations.
During an investigation into complaints against Crosby Property Maintenance, Howarth gave false information to Sefton’s Trading Standards officers.
He was fined £1,505 and ordered to pay costs of £1,031.50, as well as a further £265 fine for logo offences.
Speaking after the case, Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “This case goes to show the absolute importance of double checking who is working on your property. A full list of Gas Safe and NICIEIC approved contractors are available via their respective websites.
“Victims of this rogue trader are still counting the costs of his forgery and we are pleased our Trading Standards team have managed to bring him to justice. We urge residents to remain vigilant and if they suspect a rogue trader is operating in the area to get in touch and we can investigate. Residents should always be on their guard against bogus workers and we need the public’s help to catch rogue traders.”