Adam Wilson, 41, of Sunninghill Drive, Clifton, Nottingham, who ran Yourplumbstop in Long Eaton, admitted 12 charges of breaching the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at an earlier hearing in December 2021 at Nottingham Crown Court.
Eleven of the charges relate to him failing to tell customers that he was a bankrupt which he had a duty to disclose as it could affect a consumer’s transactional decision, and one charge for making false statements about representing a company named Wolf Design and Build Ltd when negotiating a contract to refurbish a bathroom.
At Nottingham Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 9 November 2022) HHJ Rafferty KC sentenced Wilson to 2-and-a-half years imprisonment relating to the trading standards charges and a further 2-and-a-half years imprisonment for a separate drugs-related offence.
HHJ Rafferty KC said that Wilson had:
“fleeced people of their hard-earned money, giving them nothing”
Wilson’s barrister told the court that Wilson had set up Yourplumbstop as a legitimate business and subsequently used the premises to grow cannabis.
As an undischarged bankrupt he was, and still is, prohibited from taking any payments over £500 from customers without informing them of his status as a bankrupt. This is because customers need to be able to make an informed choice about the financial risks they are taking.
Our trading standards team became aware of problems with Yourplumbstop when they were contacted by 11 different customers who either had partial work done, or no work at all, by Wilson, despite paying him large amounts of money to replace their bathrooms. None of the 11 customers had any knowledge that Wilson was bankrupt.
As a result of the breaches of contract, in total, the customers are owed £27,000 by Wilson which they cannot recover through civil recovery due to his bankruptcy.
One of the customers left out of pocket was a disabled woman who needed a walk-in bath and paid Wilson £6,000 in July 2019 to do the work. The only work carried out by Wilson was to take out the old bathroom and plaster the walls, leaving the woman without a functioning bathroom for more than 7 months as she could not afford to pay another business to complete the work.
Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:
“We welcome this prison sentence by the court as it sends out a very clear message to people that our trading standards officers will investigate complaints and traders will not get away with failing or misleading consumers, providing a substandard service or leaving people out of pocket.
“The fact that in this case people who have handed over thousands of pounds in good faith have no redress makes this even more despicable, but I hope they take some comfort in the fact this man has been punished by the courts.
“The success of the prosecution was down to the diligent investigation of our trading standards officers who ensured this dishonest businessman was brought to justice.”
A Proceeds of Crime hearing will take place in the future.