Trading Standards 'Record-Breaking' Case
James Lake and Hannah Lynch achieve success in ‘record-breaking’ Trading Standards case
Instructed by Henry Hyams on behalf of Trading Standards, James Lake and Hannah Lynch represented West Yorkshire Trading Standards in a prosecution, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Regulations 2008, of two men whose company had systematically coerced dozens of elderly and vulnerable people into paying for new driveways. The defendants advertised their resin driveways as being ‘weed-free’, ‘anti-slip’ and having a 20 year guarantee, none of which was true.
The defendants deliberately targeted over-60s across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester, using aggressive sales tactics to persuade elderly people with Alzheimers and dementia to pay thousands of pounds for new driveways. One customer, a 94 year old WWII veteran, was completely blind and could not read the contract he was pressured into signing. In the majority of cases, the driveways the company laid for customers were substandard and defective. The company unlawfully retained deposits belonging to customers who tried to cancel within the 14 day cooling off period; and habitually ignored calls from customers to repair the defective driveways that the company had installed.
Passing sentence on 3rd March 2017, HHJ Spencer QC said that the defendants were motivated by greed and that no civilised society would put up with their activities. The defendants were each given custodial sentences of 4 years and 3 months, the highest sentences ever passed in a West Yorkshire Trading Standards case.