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Wiltshire fencer fined for unfair trading

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A fencer who took deposits for work that he failed to carry out has been fined following a prosecution by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards Service.

Mark Harris, aged 47, trading as A/M Fencing and Repairs of Lower South Wraxall, Bradford-on-Avon, pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates Court on January 17, to one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He returned to court on February 14 for sentencing.

The court heard Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards Service began an investigation into Harris after receiving a complaint from an elderly B&NES resident.

Harris took a deposit of £840 for materials and failed to carry out the agreed fencing work for his customer and then failed to return money he had taken as a deposit for this work despite the consumers requests for a refund for the deposit paid.

He must now pay a fine of £384, a victim surcharge of £154 and prosecution costs of £1,734. Since pleading guilty Harris has refunded the consumer their £840 deposit.

Councillor Kevin Guy, council Leader, said: “Householders should be able to trust contractors they employ to safeguard any monies paid to them for materials and to complete the job in line with the specification.

‘We hope that this prosecution sends out a clear message that our trading standards team will not hesitate to investigate and take action against those tradesmen who commit crime.’

The council runs an approved trader scheme called ‘Buy with Confidence’ where residents can search for local businesses which have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards. Anyone looking for a local business to carry out some work is encouraged to visit

Anyone who thinks they might have fallen victim to a rogue trader, should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who work in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Trading Standards. Telephone 0345 40 40 506.

Before agreeing to any work, your local Trading Standards team recommend that you:

  • Read reviews of traders and if possible use the Buy with Confidence Approved Trader Scheme.
  • Ask at least three approved traders for quotes.
  • Never pay up front and never pay cash.
  • Say no to doorstep sellers.
  • Always get a detailed written quotation/contract.
  • Check the builder’s references and even pay visits to the references.
  • Ask your neighbours, family or friends for personal recommendations of builders who have worked for them and carried out a good job.

The Buy with Confidence directory is available free of charge from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s One Stop Shops in Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath,The Hollies, Midsomer Norton and the Civic Centre in Keynsham. It is also available online at or by calling 01225 396759.

Find out more about the council’s Trading Standards Service


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