Ipswich Star


Salesman allegedly swore at woman when she tried to cancel
order for chair placed by elderly parents, court hears

17 December 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

A salesman for a Suffolk company, which has been accused of using high pressure selling techniques to get vulnerable customers to buy its products, was "threatening and abusive" when the daughter of an elderly couple tried to cancel their order for a recliner chair, it has been alleged.

When the woman told the Westminster Recliner salesman that her parents, who were both in their 80s, didn’t want the chair he had allegedly sworn at her and said the delivery of the chair would go ahead that day and he would get the balance of the payment from them.

"I was very worried about the safety of my parents," said the woman.

She claimed that when she told the salesman she had power of attorney for her parents’ affairs he told her: "I don’t give a f... about your power of attorney. You can stick it up your a...".

"He said the chair would be delivered at all costs and he was going to get the money out of my parents," she said.

She said that immediately after the telephone call her husband drove to her parents’ home and she had telephoned the police.

She said that despite her best efforts her parents never received a refund of their deposit.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Jonathan Ashley-Norman she denied lying about the alleged abusive conversation with the salesman.

In a statement read to the court her father, who was 86, said a Westminster Recliners salesman had turned up uninvited at his home after he rang the company to ask for a brochure to be posted to him.

He said that even though he and his wife didn’t say they wanted to buy a recliner chair the salesman filled out an order form and asked for a £1,247 deposit before leaving their home after a visit which lasted two hours.

He said that after the salesman left he realised he didn’t want to pay £2,495 for a chair as he felt it was "a ridiculously large amount of money" and he had left his daughter to sort it out.

Before the court are father and son Oliver Waters, 66, and David Waters, 26, both of Manwick Road, Felixstowe who have denied eight joint offences of engaging in unfair commercial practices between May 2012 and January 2013 while they were managers of Westminster Recliners Ltd.

The company, which is based in Felixstowe, denies eight similar charges.

It has been alleged the company used "aggressive and high pressure" selling techniques to get vulnerable and elderly customers to buy its products.

When customers tried to cancel their orders and get a refund they were allegedly made to sign a "gagging order" which effectively stopped them complaining to Trading Standards.

The trial continues today (Wednesday).

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