The director of a company that dug up a vulnerable Bath resident’s driveway without permission and charged her more than £12,000 has been ordered to pay £30,000.
Johnny Rooney, the sole director of Drivescape Limited, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on 10th January, where as a result of criminal offences committed by both him and his company, they were jointly ordered by Judge Lambert to pay £30,000.
In September last year, Rooney was handed a suspended sentence after being found guilty of failing to prevent his staff carrying out aggressive commercial practices following an investigation by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s trading standards team.
Rooney, aged 32, of Semington, Wiltshire, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on 6th September where he and his company were found guilty of an offence each under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Rooney was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, 120 hours community service and has been banned from ‘On Licence’ premises for 12 months.
The court heard that Rooney was the sole director of the company when its employees dug up the driveway of a vulnerable Bath resident without permission and charged more than £12,000.
During a trial at Bristol Crown Court in June 2019, the court heard from Bath & North East Somerset Trading Standards officers that Rooney failed to stop his employees from digging up a driveway in Bath without permission.
The resident, a lone disabled female who had said no to any work being carried out, told the court how she was followed and pressured by the company.
The following day she arrived home and found several Drivescape Ltd staff digging up her driveway.
The resident said she felt violated and intimidated by this and was pressured to pay the company £12,300 for completing the block pave driveway and other work.
Drivescape Ltd failed to provide the consumer with a written contract and written cancellation notice detailing the consumer’s right to a 14 day cooling-off period.
In the hearing on 10th January, it was ordered that Rooney and the company should jointly pay £13,193 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Compensation of £12300 will be paid to the victim from this amount.
In addition, Drivescape Ltd was also fined £100 and the company ordered to pay costs to Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Councillor Paul Crossley, Bath and North East Somerset Council cabinet member for Community Services, said: “I am pleased that the victim has seen justice done and that she will now receive compensation. I want to thank our officers for their hard work on this case.
“Our team runs an approved trader scheme called ‘Buy with Confidence’ where residents can search for local businesses which have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards.
“We would always encourage anyone looking for a local business to carry out some work for them to visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.”
Anyone who thinks they might have fallen victim to a rogue trader should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who work in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Trading Standards on 0345 40 40 506.
Before agreeing to any work, consumers should:
- Read reviews of traders and if possible use the Buy with Confidence Approved Trader Scheme.
- Ask at least three approved traders for quotes.
- Never pay up front and avoid cash.
- Say no to doorstep sellers.
- Always get a detailed written quotation/contract.
- Check the builder’s references and even pay visits to the references.
- Ask your neighbours, family or friends for personal recommendations of builders who have worked for them and carried out a good job.
The Buy with Confidence directory is available free of charge to callers to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s One Stop Shop in Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath; The Hollies, Midsomer Norton and the Civic Centre in Keynsham.
It is also available online at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/trading-standards/buy-confidence or by calling 01225 3966759.