A company has pleaded guilty to misleading a Dorset couple into urgently buying roofing work at an excessive price.

Owl Home Solutions Limited pleaded guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court on the 12 May 2022 to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

An investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards found that an unsolicited telephone call in January 2019 led to a salesman employed by Owl Home Solutions Limited visiting a Ferndown couple. After holding a hand-held device in the loft space, the salesman said that there was moisture present caused by moss on the roof; the moss needed to be removed and a specialist roof coating would be applied along with other ancillary building work. The price quoted was £13,700. The couple were told that if action was not taken then a new roof would cost in the region of £25,000 to £35,000. The remedial work started the very next day.

The first offence related to a description about the condition of the property’s roof. An independent expert reported that the removal of the moss from the roof was unnecessary and that the roof timberwork was in excellent condition. The second offence related to the price charged. The expert determined that if the roof coating had been required then the price charged for the building work was excessive.

Owl Home Solutions Limited were fined £22,500, ordered to pay compensation of £11,425 and a contribution towards the Council’s costs of £5,000.

Councillor Laura Miller, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services at Dorset Council said:

“We are pleased to see a positive outcome with compensation for the victims even after lengthy delays in the Court system due to the pandemic. By pleading guilty a full trial has not been necessary. I would urge Dorset residents to be alert to unsolicited contact by traders, especially where that leads to agreeing building work quickly. People should not feel pressured but should speak with somebody else about whether the work might be needed. When work is required then obtain more than one quote from trusted traders to compare details and price.”

To report concerns about traders operating in your area the first point of contact is the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133. People can find a ‘Buy with Confidence’ trader by visiting the Buy with Confidence website or by phoning the Citizens Advice consumer service. ‘Buy with Confidence’ traders are vetted and approved by trading standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

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