A Stockton-on-Tees builder who left families with uncompleted work and claimed he was certified for specialist jobs has been sentenced.
On Friday 8 January Teesside Crown Court heard that John Henry Medd Taylor, 37, of Darlington Road, Stockton-on-Tees and his company, Taylors Builders Limited, failed to complete work initially begun at four different properties across the North East from March 2013 and April 2014.
After engaging Mr Taylor to complete work on their properties two families were dismayed to find that the work rate slowed to an eventual stop. Mr Taylor asked both for more money to complete the build. Work at the properties was left incomplete with Mr Taylor walking off the job, claiming that money was owed and that the relationship with the homeowners had soured. Two properties were left without kitchens and one had no floor.
In the middle of one job Mr Taylor also demanded that additional funds be paid as the build was now liable for VAT, despite originally providing a VAT free quote for the customer.
In total Mr Taylor was paid in excess of £108,000 across the two properties. In addition to the money paid to Mr Taylor the homeowners were forced to spend more to pay for other builders to complete the work.
Whilst investigating, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Trading Standards team also found Mr Taylor’s company, Taylors Builders Limited, inaccurately claimed to be a member of various trade bodies such as NICEIC and Gas Safe.
After pleading guilty to four offences under the Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 and a further charge on behalf of his company, Taylors Building Limited, Mr Taylor was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £15,500 compensation and £5,000 costs. Taylors Builders Limited was fined £1,000.
In mitigation Mr Taylor’s defence said that he fully intended to fulfil the contracts properly and within the agreed time period. Claims of certification were “over ambitious” and they told the court that although Taylors Builders Limited did not hold certifications itself, the company sub-contracted specialist jobs to certified professionals. The court was also told that during the period covered by the cases, Mr Taylor had suffered a family bereavement.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, Councillor Steve Nelson, said: “Mr Taylor showed complete disregard for these homeowners who put their trust in him and paid him a lot of money.
"Mr Taylor was trading as a professional firm and was therefore duty bound to carry out works of an appropriate standard. It was also incredibly misleading to advertise his company as being endorsed by professional trade bodies, which are designed to protect the public from rogue tradespeople.
"I am sure this will have been a very distressing time for the homeowners concerned and I'm pleased the courts have imposed this sentence. Our Trading Standards team will always investigate claims of sub-standard work and I hope this case will help all traders understand that they must take their legal obligations seriously.
“When employing a contractor, especially on a large job we would always recommend that customers make staged payments as and when sections of the work have been completed rather than paying cash up front.”