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19 October 2011, 13:18 | Updated: 19 October 2011, 13:32
Trading Standards officers in Poole have taken legal action to stop a local contractor leaving customers out of pocket for unfinished work.
Borough of Poole has been granted a court order stopping groundworks contractor Matthew Stanley from leaving driveway and garden surfacing work unfinished.
The court action followed three complaints from people who had paid Mr Stanley, from Fortescue Road, Poole, a combined total of more than £6,500 for driveway and garden construction work that he never finished.
In two of the cases, the customers had to employ other contractors at a cost of £5,500 and £2,720 respectively, to complete the work left unfinished by Mr Stanley.
In the first action of its kind by Borough of Poole's Trading Standards team, Bournemouth and Poole County Court granted an enforcement order against Mr Stanley for breaching the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 when agreeing to blockpave driveways, build walls, steps and edge lawns.
The council has also obtained a court order requiring Mr Stanley to provide details of customers for whom he carried out surfacing work between 1 January 2010 and 2 August 2010.
In February this year, the court ordered Mr Stanley to provide customers with written notice of their cancellation rights at the time that work was agreed, after receiving evidence from Trading Standards officers.
Peter Haikin, Regulatory Services Manager for Environmental and Consumer Protection Service, Borough of Poole, said: "The court accepted that Matthew Stanley had failed to meet his legal obligations by leaving customers with unfinished work they had already paid for that would cost them thousands of pounds to complete.
"We hope that this action makes it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable and the council will take effective action against businesses that take residents' money and fail to do the work they promise to do."
Should Mr Stanley breach the orders, the matter will be returned to the court which has powers to issue a custodial sentence.
Borough of Poole is appealing for anyone who's been dissatisfied with work carried out by Matthew Stanley to contact its Trading Standards team on 01202 261700.
Trading Standards officers are also investigating other contractors who 'cold-call' residents offering to carry out driveway and other building works.
Peter Haikin said: "These contractors targeted vulnerable and elderly people using high pressure selling techniques and deliberately failed to provide residents with written notice of their right to cancel when agreeing to the work. As well as carrying out sub-standard work, they have also used aggressive practices when asking for money.
"We would advise residents not to answer doorstep sellers but to use recommended and vetted tradespeople such as members of the Buy With Confidence Scheme."