Ipswich Star

Felixstowe/UK: Company Duped The Elderly And Disabled

12th March 2013

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A father and son from Felixstowe, a company director, and their business, have admitted using aggressive tactics to dupe the elderly and the disabled.

They must now pay fines and costs totalling nearly £50,000.

Mobility UK sales managers Oliver Waters, 24, and David Waters, 64, both of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty before Ipswich magistrates to consenting and conniving to use aggressive and misleading commercial practices.

David Waters was fined a total of £3,000. His son was fined £1,000. The were both ordered to pay £10,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

Oliver Waters also pleaded guilty to managing the company while being an undischarged bankrupt, for which he was fined £1,000.

Their convictions follow a large-scale investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards after numerous consumer complaints against Mobility UK, which was trading under Westminster Recliners.

Mobility UK was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 and victim surcharge of £15.

Company director Courtney Symons, 34, of Rustat Avenue, Cambridge, also pleaded guilty to seven offences. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,500, and a victim surcharge of £15.

Their victims, including the elderly and those with mobility problems, contacted the company after seeing adverts in national papers or online.

A visit by a salesman was then arranged at the victim’s home where large deposits were often paid.

When people attempted to cancel an order or ask for a refund within the legal period of seven days, the company kept their deposit, claiming work had been carried out on the order.

These claims proved to be false. The order had not even been received by the manufacturer let alone started.

Sales representatives also used misleading tactics by falsely claiming to offer a reduced price as part of existing orders placed through BUPA. However, the company never had any contracts or orders with BUPA.

One 83-year-old consumer was given a sales pitch lasting more than three hours, before reluctantly agreeing to pay a deposit of £2000.

After a 10-month battle by trading standards and an advocacy company the man’s £,2000 deposit was returned.

The pensioner said: "I was glad to put the nightmare behind me and would warn other people not to let companies like this into their home."

Suffolk County Councillor Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection said; "The managers of this company were not at all concerned for their vulnerable victims and were entirely motivated by their own greed. They manipulated their way into securing large deposits from victims in their homes with no intention of returning the deposit if the victim changed their mind."

East Anglian Daily Times Original Web Article