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Unregistered installer guilty of fraud

UK: The owner of a business that falsely claimed to be F-gas certified has been convicted of selling unsuitable heat pumps and taking deposits for work he didn’t do.

Adrian Brian Miles of East End, Redruth, who traded under the name Duchy Eco Heating was said to have misled more than a dozen customers about the suitability of heating and air conditioning systems and the warranty support they could expect to receive.

Between 2017 and 2021, Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Team are said to have received 14 reports from unhappy customers. The issues included:
• Misleading customers into the initial purchase by offering extensive warranties, free servicing and maintenance programmes, which he then failed to honour.
• Failing to provide the legally required contract information.
• Taking deposits for work that he failed to do.
• Recommending heating or air conditioning systems that were insufficient for the customer’s needs.
• Supplying systems which were installed incorrectly, and which then exposed the customer to further losses in order to rectify the issues.

In the course of the Trading Standards investigation, it became clear that Miles had falsely claimed that his business was properly certified under the F-gas regulations and made fraudulent applications to two certification bodies, including REFCOM.

Graeme Fox, director of technical at REFCOM said: “We are delighted to see this case come to a satisfactory conclusion. Environmental laws regarding greenhouse gas emissions were introduced to ensure responsible use of environmentally damaging substances, and limit their handling and use only by properly qualified and registered companies and individuals. This case has perfectly demonstrated how REFCOM is helping our authorities effectively enforce these regulations.”

Miles was sentenced on December 9 at Truro Crown Court to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and was given 200 hours unpaid work.

At a previous hearing, he pleaded guilty to a fraudulent trading offence under section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.

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