Prosecution of Cowboy Builder
The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (‘the OFT’) has prosecuted a “cowboy builder” who has caused a lot of problems in the Island during recent years.
The “cowboy builder” concerned pleaded guilty to offences under the Consumer Protection (Trade Descriptions) Act 1970 of knowingly making false or misleading statements as to services. Basically, he had charged for work that had not been carried out. He received a substantial fine and was ordered to pay the prosecution costs in full.
He has also signed a written assurance under the Fair Trading Act 1996 that he will trade fairly from now on. Should he breach the assurance the Attorney General will be requested by the OFT to bring proceedings against him in the High Court which could lead to a further substantial fine and/or to a term of imprisonment.
The OFT is currently investigating the activities of a number of other “cowboy builders” operating in the Island and will not hesitate to take similar action to prevent them taking advantage of consumers.
Paul Gelling, the Chief Officer of the OFT, said “This successful prosecution highlights the work being undertaken by the OFT to rid the Island of “cowboy builders” who prey on consumers, particularly the more vulnerable members of society. These characters are not lovable rogues. They are criminals who fleece trusting homeowners out of thousands of pounds. I am obviously pleased with the result of the prosecution but would add that the OFT is not working alone as enforcement agencies across Government are working together to curtail the activities of these rogue tradesmen. If anyone has any concerns about “cowboy builders” they should contact the OFT on 686500.
Anyone looking to have work carried out on their property can obtain advice on selecting the right builder from the OFT website www.gov.im/oft or by ringing 686500.”