A builder who took deposits for work that he failed to carry out has been fined following a prosecution by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards Service.

On July 5, 2023, at Bath Magistrates Court, Martin Williams (54) of Whiteway Road, Bath, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

He was convicted after the Council’s Trading Standards Service began an investigation into Williams after receiving complaints from two of his customers.

Williams failed to follow through on promised and paid-for work at the properties of two Bath and North East Somerset residents and then failed to return money he had taken as a deposit for this work.

He must now pay fines totalling £1,538 and costs of £1,596. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £4,640 and a victim surcharge of £438.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said “Householders should be able to trust contractors they employ to safeguard any monies paid to them for materials and to complete the job in line with the specification.

“Whilst it is understandable that contractors are finding the increasing costs of building materials difficult to manage, consumers are entitled to rely on the quotation they have been given and any contract agreed upon.”

The Council 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. Anyone looking for a local business to carry out some work is encouraged to visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk .

The Buy with Confidence directory is available free of charge from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s One Stop Shops 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 396759.

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. Telephone 0345 40 40 506.

Before agreeing to any work, your local Trading Standards team recommend that you:

  • 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 never pay 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.