A gardening company boss has been fined £500 after continuing to display the logo of a scheme designed to give consumers confidence, despite having his membership revoked eight months previously.
Derbyshire County Council brought the prosecution against Dale Newell, 45, who trades as Greenlawn Garden and Landscaping Services, from Littlemoor, Chesterfield.
Greenlawn’s membership of the council’s Trusted Trader scheme was revoked in July 2015 for failing to comply with the scheme’s code of conduct.
Despite no longer being a member of the scheme and repeated warnings, Newell continued to display the Trusted Trader logo on his company vehicle eight months after his membership was revoked.
Appearing at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Newell pleaded guilty to an offence under regulation 12 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – displaying a trust mark, quality mark or similar without the necessary authorisation.
Magistrates fined Newell £500. He was also ordered to pay £240 in costs to the county council and a £50 victim surcharge.
Councillor Julie Hill, Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said: “We’re proud of our Trusted Trader scheme which has built a strong reputation since it was launched in 2008.
“The Trusted Trader logo gives consumers the confidence to use traders because they know they have been checked out by trading standards officers and they can get a good job at a fair price.
“We’ll not tolerate the logo being used by traders who are not part of the scheme.
“Not only is it misleading to consumers, it is also unfair on the hundreds of traders who support the scheme as a legitimate way of securing work.”
Derbyshire County Council set up Trusted Trader in November 2008 to:
• Help local people find traders and businesses which agree to do a good job at a fair price and commit to providing good customer service
• Protect older and vulnerable adults by making it easier for them to use Trusted Traders rather than rogue traders who typically cold-call and use high pressure sales techniques
• Support good local businesses
The Trusted Trader scheme now has over 1,200 members.