Adam Joseph Vallier traded under A Star Carpet Cleaning Ltd and Premier Carpet Cleaning Ltd from his addresses in Bournemouth and Dorset from 2014 to 2015. Vallier traveled around the country to offer cleaning of two carpets for a discounted price of £19. Most of his target customers consisted of elderly homeowners who were enticed by the special offer.
However, once Vallier’s operatives entered the home, the price of carpet cleaning immediately rose to £200. This type of scam is more popularly known as “bait and switch”. In order to give an impression of trustworthiness and reliability for consumers who make the effort to research online, Vallier published bogus customer testimonials. He also claimed that his operatives were skilled and qualified for the job of carpet cleaning although they were not. The work was not professionally done because carpet cleaning was undertaken without moving the furniture.
Vallier was also guilty of falsely claiming membership with National Carpet Cleaning Association. Since he did his trading under similar names to established businesses, they experienced the full force of complaints from disgruntled customers. It seems that Vallier was more interested in getting as much money as he could from customers that carpet cleaning was done haphazardly.
The special offer of £19 for carpet cleaning allowed Vallier through the front door. However, customers were prepared to provide evidences to bring Vallier to justice. Vallier has previously received advice from the local authorities about fair trading on two occasions. His customers were not adequately told of their rights to cooling off period that will allow them to cancel their contracts.
After a five-day trial last September, Vallier was found guilty of unfair trading and fraud and was given 12-month suspended sentence with 250 hours of community service. Consumers were advised to go to Buy with Confidence website for the list of approved traders in their areas.
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