A rogue trader, whose behaviour was described as “insidious” and “amongst the worst of its kind” has been issued with a Court Order and been told to pay more than £16,000 in legal costs, after a successful application was made by Bedford Borough Council.
Mohammed Shamrez, 28, of Bromham Road, operates Express Plumbing Limited and also trades as London Emergency Plumbers and has been the subject of numerous stories in the local, regional and national press and television.
At a hearing on October 30, Luton County Court heard how Trading Standards Officers had received a multitude of complaints about Mr Shamrez and had attempted to work with him to deal with the issues raised.
However, Mr Shamrez had failed to honour the undertakings he had given to the Council, and therefore the decision was made to apply to the Court for an Enforcement Order.
The complaints became so frequent and the nature of them so serious, that an Interim Order had previously been granted at Bedford County Court in June whilst the full investigation was carried out.
The Enforcement Order specifically prohibits Mr Shamrez from:
Overcharging for work carried out
Deliberately prolonging the time spent at consumers’ homes in order to increase the cost of the work
Processing payments without the agreement or knowledge of his customers
Verbally misleading consumers as to the extent of the work required
Adding additional charges to those agreed
Failing to respond to customer complaints
Placing misleading information on the company website
Failing to provide consumers with information regarding their right to cancel
In addition to the Enforcement Order, Mr Shamrez was told by the court that he must display a warning to prospective customers on each page of the Express Plumbing and London Emergency Plumbers websites as well as the websites of any other businesses he is involved with.
The warning is headed CONSUMER NOTICE and informs potential customers that Express Plumbing Limited and its Director Mr Mohammed Shamrez, is subject to the terms of an Enforcement Order.
Mr Shamrez did not contest the terms of the Order but did argue against the council’s request for details of it to be placed on his own websites.
However, in summing up and ordering Mr Shamrez to publicise the order on all websites he is involved with, the Judge said: “The defendants practice of taking payments without consumers consent was insidious.
“His behaviour is amongst the worst of its kind. There is clear evidence of a calculated course of conduct.
“It is likely that the number of people affected is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and much higher than currently known as many will not have made official complaints.
“That publicising the order was necessary to protect consumers and that should this have a catastrophic effect on the business then Mr Shamrez had brought this upon himself by his continued behaviour.”
Should Mr Shamrez be found to be in breach of the Order in the future he could be held in contempt of court and could face further costs, fines and imprisonment.
Cllr Sarah-Jayne Holland, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “This result backs the actions taken by the Councils Officers in pursuing Mr Shamrez through the County Court to defend those who have been badly treated as well as protecting those who may consider using his services in the future.
“Mr Shamrez, through his various companies, has been the subject of countless complaints from Bedford Borough residents and others across the country.
“Our Trading Standards officers have worked tirelessly to bring this case to court and this result clearly demonstrates that we will take all possible action to ensure that rogue businessmen and women will not be allowed to operate in Bedford Borough.”
The Enforcement Order was granted at Luton County Court on October 30. Legal proceedings relating to the display of the order on Mr Shamrez’s websites are still being processed by the court but the council is now able to make the outcome of the case public.