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Kings Langley builder sentenced after admitting 'boosting'
A Kings Langley builder who, along with an accomplice, pressured a woman into hiring him before increasing the price by almost 2,000 per cent has been fined and ordered to repay the money.
James Cash, 26, who lives at a caravan site in Toms Lane, Kings Langley, and Thomas Po Casey, 21, formerly of a caravan site in Holwell Lane in Hatfield traded as British Building Masters.
In May 2010 the men cold-called a Luton resident and pressured her into agreeing to work on her chimney.
Once they had begun, they allegedly created more work for themselves, increasing the price and adding contracts for block paving and garage roof repairs as they went - a practice is known as 'boosting'.
The initial price of £120 rose to £2450 in two days.
The victim handed over £450 in cash but contacted Luton Borough Council Trading Standards Service which intervened before she paid any more money.
They found Casey dishonestly gave a false address to the consumer and dishonestly failed to give the consumer written notice of her cancellation rights for each of the three contracts.
Cash was found to have aggressively made repeated demands for payment during the cancellation period before the work had even been completed.
At Luton Crown Court on Monday (September 3) Cash admitted engaging in an aggressive commercial practice and was sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work, three months of night-time curfew and was ordered to pay £5,200 costs and £450 compensation to the victim.
Casey failed to turn up and was convicted of four offences under the fraud act in his absence.
He was sentenced to six months in jail for each offence, to run concurrently, and must pay £5,200 costs and £450 compensation to the victim.
He will serve the sentence when he is taken into custody.
Councillor Mohammed Ashraf, Luton Borough Council's portfolio holder for trading standards, said: "The law gives consumers a 7-day period to change their mind and cancel, without penalty, contracts over £35 agreed to at their home.
“It is an important protection so consumers have time to shop around to ensure they have a good deal.
"We will not tolerate traders who cheat consumers and the court takes a very dim view of fraudsters."