A businessman who harassed residents in an attempt to get money he claimed he was due must pay out more than £23,500 after he was found guilty of aggressive commercial practices.
John Hare, 55, trading as Rapide Security Ltd, used threatening and harassing tactics to demand money from a number of residents in the Whissendine area in connection with the monitoring of alarm systems installed in their properties.
Despite repeated attempts by the consumers to obtain a copy of any contract detailing charges, Hare failed to provide any evidence and instead opted to threaten and harass the residents in an attempt to obtain the payments he said were due.
Tactics used by Hare included threats to issue embarrassing documents at their workplace, to inform their neighbours of their debts, to advertise their non-payment in the local press and threats to sue for defamation of character if the matter was reported to Trading Standards.
Hare, of Scout Way, London, was found guilty of aggressive commercial practices, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on December 17. The case was brought by Peterborough and Rutland Trading Standards.
He was fined £10,000 for two offences and ordered to pay £12,500 in costs, along with £1,000 compensation and a £120 victim surcharge. His company, Rapide Security Ltd, was also fined £2,000 and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
The district judge said in his judgement that Hare was aggressive in his business practices, harassed consumers, coerced and applied undue influence. He said Hare’s explanation of events “was not plausible” but the prosecution witnesses were “plausible and consistent”.
Rob Edmunds, regulatory officer for the Trading Standards team, said: “We welcome this conviction. Mr Hare’s practices caused considerable stress to the residents and damage the reputation of genuine traders.
“Aggressive trading practices will not be tolerated and those offending will be brought before the courts.
“This conviction stands as a warning to anyone considering taking advantage of local consumers and serves as a reminder to others that their actions can be disrupted and could lead to enforcement action being taken against them.”