A rogue Wigan plumber has admitted presenting fake endorsements to his customers and carrying out unregistered gas work.
Rhys Lavin - today branded an “unscrupulous trader” by council chiefs - claimed that his Hindley firm Phet Ltd was “Gas Safe-registered” and “NICEIC-approved” on the YELL.COM website, when this was not the case, borough magistrates heard.
This contravened the “requirements of professional diligence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and which materially distorted the economic behaviour of the average consumer.”
In other words they were more likely to fork out for his services because they had been impressed by his bogus credentials.
And after claiming he was Gas Safety-registered he then began to carry out gas work at a property in Warrington in September last year.
The 27-year-old of Wigan Road, Hindley, was prosecuted as an individual and faced three identical charges as the representative of the company also.
The quality of the work completed has not been called into question in the case.
But despite the guilty pleas, the company’s websites today still carried the following blurb in answer to the question “Why choose Phet?”: “Our friendly, efficient and fully qualified team of engineers are Gas Safe-registered, trained to the highest standards and proud of their reputation for high quality and professional workmanship.”
Among its services the firm says its carries out new boiler installations, boiler repair, central heating installations and issuing gas safety certificates.
Julie Middlehurst, service manager for regulatory services at Wigan Council said: “Our trading standards team work hard to support and protect residents from unscrupulous traders and will where necessary, take action through the courts.
“Wigan Council’s Good Trader Scheme has around 200 reputable local businesses and we would encourage residents to use this scheme if considering having work done to their property.”
Residents can visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/goodtrader for more information or ring 03454 040506.
Justices granted Lavin bail pending his appearance before a Bolton Crown Court judge for sentencing on October 22 on condition that he reside at his Wigan Road address.