County Durham builder jailed after scamming thousands of pounds out of customers

A builder who defrauded customers out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for 12 months.

Paul Phillips, 64, of Brackenfield Road, Framwellgate Moor, appeared at Durham Crown Court after Durham County Council’s Trading Standards crew took authorized motion in opposition to him.

In June 2019, a buyer contacted Phillips about repairs to his shed roof and organized a date in July that yr, the court docket heard.

Phillips contacted the shopper and provided to promote them a brand new shed that had change into out there and quoted £1,250 for the sale and set up.

However, on the date the shed was to be delivered, the shopper obtained one other name to say Phillips’ mom had died in a single day and another person could be organised to ship and set up the shed, in his place.

A display screen seize from the web site which Phillips’ marketed on

After the shed by no means arrived, the shopper requested a refund and so they have been refused.

In an interview with Trading Standards officers, Phillips admitted that he had not ordered a shed and had lied to the shopper about this.

In August the identical yr, one other buyer had contacted Phillips a few single-storey extension to their dwelling in Hartlepool.

Phillips visited the property and quoted £17,800 which was diminished to £15,000 and a payment of £640 for constructing management. During the dialogue, it was agreed that the works be accomplished by Christmas.

The following September, Phillips suggested that constructing management approval had been granted, however failed to offer documentation regardless of a request.

Phillips additionally didn’t work on the extension and his son labored on the location in his absence from October 2019.

After it grew to become obvious the work was not progressing as agreed, Phillips offered the shopper with a quantity of causes for the shortage of progress however assured the work could be concluded by December, 1 2019.

By December 19, the work had nonetheless not been accomplished.

The buyer organized for a constructing inspector who attended the property on December 23, and suggested that the works weren’t authorised, and the construction needed to be taken all the way down to damp-proof degree.

A complete of £12,700 had been paid to Phillips and the shopper was compelled to pay one other £4,000 to a brand new builder to rectify work carried out.

In two different separate complaints in 2019, Phillip had charged customers to improve or substitute home windows of their properties.

However, when the work was as a consequence of be carried out, the customers have been contacted with the explanation why Phillips couldn’t carry out the work together with provider points, combined up dates, accidents involving his van and being concerned in charity walks.

The customers have been provided refunds that they both didn’t obtain or have been refunded with cheques that bounced again.

Phillips pleaded responsible to costs of fraud and deceptive industrial observe and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public safety supervisor, mentioned: “This dealer’s exercise not solely fraudulently eliminated thousands of pounds out of the pockets of unwitting customers, however induced an awesome deal of stress, injury and distrust for the victims concerned.

“Unfair industrial practices resembling these are unacceptable and we are going to proceed to research any suspected fraudulent exercise or deceptive practices.

“This case reveals that merchants have a duty to commerce pretty, and those that don’t ought to count on to face the results of their actions.”

To discover out extra concerning the work of the council’s Trading Standards crew, and to report issues of unfair industrial practices, go to



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