Home improvements salesman accused of ‘aggressive’ tactics vowed never to take advantage of people, court hears

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A salesman for a home improvement company whose alleged aggressive manner in a telephone call reduced a customer in his 70s from Suffolk to tears had vowed he would never take advantage of people in his job.

Steven Gedge, who worked for First Home Improvements, said in the 12 years he had been a salesman he had visited around 7,000 homes and apart from the matter before the court no other complaints had been made against him.

Gedge, a former chef, broke down in tears as he told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that when he changed careers he made a pledge to his children that he "wouldn't be the kind of old fashioned salesman who took advantage of people".

Gedge, 56, of Havant Close, Norwich and First Home Improvenents, of Lenwade, have each denied two offences of engaging in a commercial practice which was misleading, engaging in an unfair commercial practice and engaging in an an aggressive commercial practice.

Gedge has also denied 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.

On Tuesday (February 4) the company and Gedge were each cleared of one of the offences of engaging in a misleading commercial practice after the trial judge ruled there was insufficient evidence against them.

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The offence related to an alleged representation to a man in his 70s from Blundeston that the price quoted for a conservatory roof was the true value of the product.

It has been alleged that the customer, who'd had a heart bypass and prostate cancer, was reduced to tears by Gedge's "aggressive" manner during a telephone call when he tried to cancel an order for a new conservatory roof.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting for Suffolk Trading Standards, alleged that the homeowner was so upset during the call that he handed the phone to his wife.

A decision was subsequently made by First Home Improvements 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..

The trial continues.

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