A former Port Talbot based trader who carried out poor repair work, has been described by a District Judge as, “extremely predatory”, at a trial at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, after an investigation by Neath Port Talbot Trading Standards.
Whilst carrying out building work at another property, 27-year-old Mr Gage Goodhew, formerly of Hopkin Street, Port Talbot, and now of Royston Road, Swindon, was approached by an 84-year-old vulnerable consumer in the Velindre area of Port Talbot and asked to repair a shed roof.
Goodhew surveyed the job and verbally quoted £1300, this to include the price for materials and tools. The consumer withdrew the cash from his bank and handed it to Goodhew. Later, Goodhew, and another workman, began repairing the shed.
A few days after starting the job, Goodhew then said he could clear the rubbish from the consumer’s shed for another £1200, which the consumer paid in cash.
After the work on the shed roof was done, the consumer was given a piece of cardboard with “£2500” on it as a receipt with a false name and address. Therefore, the consumer had no means of contacting Goodhew.
Both Goodhew and his workman began to measure up the window in the consumer’s shed, but were told that the consumer could not afford any more work and they left.
The workmen never came back to clear the rubbish, and Trading Standards were contacted.
On June 4th, 2019, at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, the Court heard from the consumer, and quantity surveyor, Tim Davies - who attended Court as an expert witness for Trading Standards. Mr Davies described the work as, “patently substandard”, and advised that the work was of, “no pecuniary value”. Furthermore, to fix the shed, a new builder would have to, “strip all the work, then redo it in its entirety”, illustrated by the photographs taken from his report.
Gage Goodhew failed to attend Court in the morning of June 4th and subsequently, was tried in his absence and found guilty by District Judge Parsons of offences under Section 1 & 2 of the Fraud act 2006; Regulation 19(1) of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, & Additional Charges) Regulations 2013; Regulations 8, 9, & 13 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008); and Regulation 28 of the Company Limited Liability partnership & Business (Names & Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015.
In the afternoon of the same day, however, he appeared at Court for sentencing.
In his sentencing remarks, District Judge Parsons described the victim as “a particularly vulnerable pensioner”, and, “more so than someone of his age would normally be”.
Accepting that the victim had approached Goodhew, Judge Parsons added that the trader had seen the victim as a, “golden goose”, and, “squeezed as much out of him as he could”, in return for, “extremely shabby work”.
In mitigation, Goodhew said he had no intention of “ripping the consumer off” and had given him a five year verbal warranty, but had not heard from him.
The District Judge sentenced Goodhew to a total of six months imprisonment and ordered him to pay a victim impact surcharge of £115 once he had left prison.
Cllr Leanne Jones, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection for Neath Port Talbot Council said: “Mr Goodhew saw an opportunity to exploit a vulnerable pensioner in ill health, preying on the victim and showing no remorse for the distress he had caused.”
“Rogue traders such as Gage Goodhew do not see the obligations they have to their customers, only seeing them as a means to financial gain.”
“Trading Standards take a hard line on investigating businesses that flout the law and target the vulnerable”
“The service is promoting a national trading standards run trader approval scheme called ‘Buy With Confidence’.
“Legitimate and responsible traders are encouraged to make enquiries with the department to join the scheme. Consumers should check the “Buy with Confidence” website for approved traders”.