A builder and an electrician have both been fined after a court heard that they attempted to cover up unsatisfactory domestic electrical work.
The case, brought forward by Dudley Council’s trading standards, highlighted how the two had issued an electrical certificate bearing the NICEIC logo - when neither were registered with the organisation.
The court heard that Kevin John Wakefield (55), trading as Beta Home Improvements, built an extension for a Quarry Bank resident and also carried out electrical installation work. The householder had problems with the electrical work, and at one point an extension lead caught fire, but the electrics did not trip out.
After complaints from the home owner, Wakefield asked his ex-brother-in-law Paul Lloyd (48), trading as P Lloyd Electrical, to check the electrical work and to issue the necessary Electrical Installation Certificate. Lloyd issued an Electrical Installation Certificate which displayed the NICEIC logo, even though he was not, and never had been, registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting.
The householder continued to have problems with the electrics, and asked another electrician to test the electrical installation. The electrician found a host of problems, including there being no RCD protection on some circuits, and one circuit was considered dangerous and had to be disconnected. This led to concerns about the validity of the certificate issued by Lloyd to the householder and the case was referred to trading standards for investigation.
Wakefield and Lloyd both pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court on 11 April 2019 to offences involving a banned practice, misleading actions and professional diligence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The court stated that it was an appalling case which could have put people’s lives at risk.
Wakefield, of Beeches Close, Kingswinford, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,144 costs, £819 compensation and a victim surcharge of £170. Lloyd, of Gospel Ash Road, Bobbington, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,144 costs, £569 compensation and a victim surcharge of £170. Martin Samuels, Dudley Council’s strategic director for people, said:
"This result should be seen as a warning to any trader tempted to use logos or quality marks that they have no right to use - a practice specifically banned by law.
In this case, shoddy electrical work could have put the residents’ safety at risk and it is right that these traders have been brought to task for shirking their responsibilities.”
Dudley Council has a number of services set up to protect residents from rogue traders. Anyone who is suspicious of doorstep callers can call the Bogus Caller Hotline on 01384 812045 to report an incident 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition Dudley Trading Standards, in partnership with Age UK Dudley, offers the Fix a Home list of local approved traders who provide services of a high standard at a fair cost. Copies are available online.