Rogue trader charged victim £5k for £100 job

A rogue landscaper who charged thousands of pounds for work that should have cost a little over GBP100 has been caught by trading standards. Dean Potter charged his victim in Charlbury GBP5,600 for substandard work on their garage and driveway. According to an expert, the 34-year-old tradesman’s handiwork should have cost just GBP161.

The work was carried out during 2019, with the landscaper wildly inflating his prices and pressurising the customer. He had also demanded GBP6,500 to replace the victim’s garage roof, when the cost should have been nearer to GBP2,390. Trading standards intervened before this money was handed over.

READ MORE: Fly-tipper fined GBP2,000 for dumping waste across Oxfordshire Potter, from Gloucester, had been trading under the name 4 Counties Landscaping. Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team brought the prosecution, which was heard at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

Prior to the start of the trial, Potter pleaded guilty to three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, including charging more than the work was worth, failing to provide quotes or invoices, and pressurising the client to make a decision by claiming products would only be available for a limited time. He was required by the court to pay costs totalling GBP12,231; GBP6,600 in compensation to his victim; GBP3,600 to the costs of the prosecution; a financial penalty of GBP1,850 and a victim surcharge of GBP181. Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “This case shows that we will pursue those who pressurise vulnerable members of the public into having work done and for charging excessively for a substandard job.

“We advise anybody who is looking for a reliable trader to always get a number of detailed quotes, check with friends and family for trusted recommendations and consider a trading standards approved trader, from our Buy With Confidence scheme.”

Any Oxfordshire resident that has concerns about activity of this nature should report it to trading standards using the national consumer helpline 0808 223 1133.

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