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Salesman ‘left householder in tears’ in row over cancelled order, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:37 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:14 31 January 2020

Ipswich Crown Court  Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A man in his 70s who had survived a heart bypass and prostate cancer was reduced to tears by an aggressive salesman from a home improvement company when he tried to cancel an order for a new conservatory roof, a court heard.

The homeowner, who lived with his wife in Blundeston, was allegedly lied to by Steven Gedge about the state of his conservatory roof and agreed for it to be replaced, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The man was quoted £9,500 for the work but was allegedly told by Gedge the price would be reduced to £8,378 if he agreed to sign up there and then - something which was a breach of consumer protection regulations, said Adam Pearson, prosecuting, for Suffolk Trading Standards.

When the man changed his mind about having the work done the following week he contacted Gedge who allegedly said he could not cancel the contract.

With a friend's help the man sent a letter to First Home Improvements cancelling the contract but he then allegedly received an "aggressive" telephone call from Gedge telling him he would lose his £1,256 deposit and "might as well" have the work done.

Mr Pearson said the telephone call had reduced the homeowner to tears and he was so upset he had handed the phone to his wife.

A decision was subsequently made by FHI to allow the homeowner to cancel the contract but he was allegedly told that if he challenged the retention of his deposit the company reserved the right to charge him 25% of the order.

Gedge, 56, of Havant Close, Norwich, and First Home Improvements, of Station Road Industrial Estate, Lenwade, Norfolk, have denied two offences of engaging in a commercial practice which was misleading, one offence of engaging in an unfair commercial practice and engaging in an aggressive commercial practice.

Gedge has also denied an offence of fraud and First Home Improvements has also denied a further offence of engaging in a commercial practice that was misleading.

The offences date back to 2017.

The trial continues.


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