Checkatrade: Oldham gardener fined thousands for misrepresentation

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An Oldham gardener has been fined almost £5,000 for falsely claiming to be a member of Checkatrade and TrustATrader.

Websites allow people to search for reviews of traders in their area.

In return, merchants have to pay up to hundreds a year in fees for a place on the websites.

Now Oldham Council’s Trading Standards Department has successfully prosecuted a gardening business for falsely claiming to be a member of several trade associations in its advertisements.

Council officers were first alerted to Nice and Tidy Garden and Landscaping Services by one of the trade associations after they misused the company’s logo on advertisements

Inquiries confirmed that the business, based in Oldham Road, Failsworth, had never been a member of either directory.

The company continued to falsely claim its membership in its advertising despite having already received a warning from Trading Standards for making the same false claims more than a year earlier in other newspapers.

Appearing in court, Michael Collins, 28, of Oldham Road, Failsworth, trading as Nice and Tidy Gardening Services, pleaded guilty to four criminal offenses under consumer protection laws.

He was ordered to pay a fine of £3,000, costs of £1,550 and a victim surcharge of £190.

Councilor Jean Stretton, a cabinet member of Oldham Council for Wards, said: ‘Finding a great craftsman isn’t easy which is why people use trusted sources of information.

“This company falsely pretended to be something it was not, so it could take money from unsuspecting residents.

“The council will continue to take action against fraudulent behavior to protect residents and communities.”

You can get further advice on your rights as a consumer by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline free of charge on 0808 223 1133 or by visiting the Citizens Advice website.

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