Rogue trader siblings who targeted the vulnerable jailed

By on 18/02/2014 in News

Two brothers have been jailed for almost eight years, in total, for making false claims about a home improvement service where vulnerable people paid for shoddy and unnecessary work.

Sam Smith (31) was sentenced to five years and four months and Michael Smith (40) was sentenced to two years and seven months. Both pleaded guilty today (Tuesday 18 February) at Birmingham Crown Court for making false representations about work needed to properties and the cost involved.

Sam and Michael Smith, from Chelmsley Wood, traded as Roofstyle UK. They primarily used cold-calling tactics to target vulnerable and elderly people in order to dupe them out of their savings. The brothers misled consumers about work that wasn't necessary, and charged for building work that had either not been completed.

In one case, the siblings befriended an elderly man over two years gaining his trust and obtaining his life savings of £220,000 for unnecessary roofing work. The true cost of the job should have cost in the region of £20,000, but it was debateable whether the work needed doing in the first place.

Another vulnerable victim was told loft beams were rotting, timber suffered with damp and was infested with maggots when it was not. The victim paid £22,350 to the builders.  The survey completed on the victim's home found the work should have cost approximately £2,000.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “These brothers colluded to cheat elderly people out of their hard earned savings. By using a mix of cold-calling tactics, while their guard was down, and deliberately befriending vulnerable people

“As a city council it is our job to protect people in Birmingham from unscrupulous charlatans, and Trading Standards is doing this by making sure that those who carry out this type of activity are dealt with through the courts. I hope this verdict acts as a strong warning to rogue traders who prey on the elderly, put simply, this will not be tolerated.”

The City Council would urge anyone who is considering home improvements to seek a reputable builder/trader. Birmingham Trading Standards advises people visit www.noroguetradershere.com or call 0800 233 5000 before any work is undertaken. Advice about building work is also available by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/tradingstandards

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