Consumer: Watchdog’s warning over electrical work

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Consumers are being warned to ensure that electrical work is undertaken by skilled electricians.

The warning issued by West Yorkshire’s Trading Standards team comes after a fraudulent electrician was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.

Steven Mitchell, who traded as CCC Electrical, was handed a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 260 hours’ unpaid work.

Mitchell was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,400 after he pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at an earlier hearing.

All new domestic installations, together with specific alterations and additions to current installations, have to comply with strict safety performance standards.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards said this was to prevent hazards such as injuries from electric shocks and burns, and fires in dwellings posed by unsafe electrical installations.

All domestic electrical work installed after January 2005 must comply with Building Regulations.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service received a complaint from ELECSA in February 2014 that Steven Mitchell continued to advertise as an ELECSA registered Competent Person despite him personally withdrawing from the scheme as far back as October 2011.

Further investigations revealed that Mitchell was also not a TRUSTMARK member, a Government endorsed scheme to help people find reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.

Membership of a self-certification body such as ELECSA entitles traders to be a member of TRUSTMARK.

Trading Standards contacted a number of Mitchells’ customers and found they had been misled into taking out contracts with Steven Mitchell because they believed he was certified by ELECSA and endorsed by TRUSTMARK.

His quotations and business cards carried the ELESCA and TRUSTMARK logos and Mitchell falsely issued certification to three customers for work carried out.

Two of his customers had installations checked by a qualified electrician and, in both cases, problems were discovered, one of which could have resulted in a fire.

David Lodge, head of Trading Standards in West Yorkshire said: “This shows how seriously the Courts have taken this matter. The public needs to be certain that any electrical work done on their property is undertaken by a skilled and competent electrician who is properly qualified to do the job. The consequences of faulty electrical installations can have potentially devastating effects”.