Furniture firm allegedly left disabled and elderly customers £80k out of pocket, court hears
PUBLISHED: 12:37 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:38 10 October 2019
Disabled and elderly customers were left more than £80,000 out of pocket by a Suffolk-based mobility furniture company, it has been alleged.
More than 20 customers paid David Waters, who was the sole director of Anchor Mobilty Ltd, furniture including reclining chairs, sofas and beds they never received, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
John Goulding, prosecuting, claimed that pressure was put on elderly and disabled customers by the company's salesmen, who would stay at their homes for up to four hours and closed deals when they were tired.
On one occasion a customer was allegedly told the deal was time limited and customers who changed their minds or didn't receive their furniture never received refunds.
The court heard that more than 20 customers were allegedly left £82,000 out of pocket as a result of their dealings with Anchor Mobility.
Mr Goulding told the jury that Waters had previously run a similar business called Mobility UK Ltd and in 2013 he and the company had pleaded guilty to several offences under consumer protection and unfair trading regulations.
"These offences show that Mr Waters has a propensity to commit these type of offences," he said.
Mr Goulding claimed that after Mobilty UK Ltd, Waters had run two more similar businesses - UK Mobilty Direct and Westminster Recliners - and had taken out a £300,000 loan from a finance company.
Mr Goulding claimed that between January 2017 and August 2017 Anchor Mobility repaid £132,000 of the £300,000 loan while taking deposits from Anchor Mobility customers.
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"Over a significant period when money was being received by Anchor from customers, David Waters through Anchor bank accounts was repaying the debts of Westminster Recliners Ltd," alleged Mr Goulding.
He said another of Waters' companies had leased premises in Summit Business Park in Felixstowe and had run up £20,000 rent arrears.
Waters, 71, of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, and his company Anchor Mobility Limited deny a string of unfair trading offences.
The 18 charges were brought following an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards.
Waters denies fraudulent trading by taking payment without delivering goods, pressurising customers to make purchases, and failing to issue refunds between October 2016 and August 2017.
Waters and Anchor Mobility deny engaging in an unfair commercial practice which contravened requirements of professional diligence between October 2016 and August 2017.
The company and Waters also deny 15 offences of being engaged in misleading commercial practices by failing to fulfil representations that furniture would be delivered to customers within an agreed time period.
Waters and the company also deny failing to refund money to a customer in March 2017.
The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, continues.