14 December 2010

Safestyle UK Fined for harrassing couple

Company News

Fined

February 5, 2011 Published by Glasstalk News

Safestyle was landed with a £22,000 legal bill last night after a householder plagued by its door-to-door cold-callers won a landmark hearing.

Double glazing firm Safestyle (UK) sent a stream of canvassers to John Wigmore’s home for more than FOUR YEARS, ignoring his pleas to stop.

Exasperated Mr Wigmore, 63, alerted his trading standards department after about a dozen visits – but the calls continued.

One agent admitted he had seen a notice outside Mr Wigmore’s home that read: “Salesmen, do not knock. Leave the premises. Do not return,” a court was told.

HPAS, trading as Safestyle (UK), was convicted of engaging in unfair commercial practice by ignoring a consumer’s request not to return to his home.

It is thought to be the first firm to face court under the regulation introduced in May 2008.

Mr Wigmore, who lives in Scunthorpe, Lincs, with wife Lavinia, said: “We were afraid to answer the door. We felt harassed and intimidated. I wrote to the company telling them there was no chance of getting a sale so if they continued to call it would be treated as personal harassment.

“I went to the police and trading standards but nothing much could be done for about three years until the law changed.”

North Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court heard Safestyle (UK) used about 850 self-employed canvassers who got a fee if they made an appointment for a salesman – plus a commission if a sale followed.

Electrical technician Mr Wigmore first wrote to them to complain in August 2005 but the calls continued until October 2009.

The firm told him it could not stop canvassers visiting because it had SO MANY.

It sent agents a memo telling them to avoid Mr Wigmore’s address and warning of disciplinary action, but to no avail.

The court rejected the firm’s claims and fined it £4,000. It was also told to pay North Lincs Council £18,013.

Mr Wigmore added: “I’ve not done this just for me, but for the rest of the country – especially people who feel intimidated by cold callers.”

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