A Great Barr builder who took cash in advance for poor quality and unfinished construction work received a 32-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Birmingham Crown Court today (11 April 2016).
Christopher Abbotts, 56, of Howard Road, Great Barr, who pleaded guilty to six offences under the Fraud Act 2006 on 6 April 2016, was also ordered to complete 180 hours of community service, pay £1,500 in court costs and £500 in compensation.
Birmingham City Council brought the case after Trading Standards officers received complaints from customers who were left out of pocket, many of whom had to pay a new contractor to rectify Abbotts’ sub-standard work and complete his unfinished jobs.
Abbotts pleaded guilty to making dishonest representations and not completing building work as agreed at properties in Calshot Road, Great Barr; Wood End Lane, Erdington and Bargain Computers, in Bordesley Green, between 1 September and 20 December 2012.
Customers were asked to pay cash in advance for works and Abbotts told them the relevant materials had been ordered and were due for delivery. In each of these cases, the materials were not delivered and building works were sub-standard or unfinished.
Abbotts also lied to the owner of the Calshot Road address that he was due to start a six-month Ministry of Defence contract at Lichfield Barracks, implying he was capable of carrying out the work – but the customer’s garage was never built.
Cllr Barbara Dring, chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Trading Standards received a number of complaints about Christopher Abbotts’ trading practices, which often left his customers out of pocket with substandard or unfinished work done to their homes or businesses.
“Having any kind of building or maintenance work done to your home can be stressful and costly but these customers were misled about the builder’s reputation and ability to complete jobs on budget and to time.
“This is why it’s vital that we bring cases like this to the public’s attention – to ensure they avoid becoming victims of cowboy builders like this.”