The director of a North Yorkshire-based mobility scooter company was sentenced at Northallerton Magistrates’ Court today, in a case brought by North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards.
Michael Verby, 58, director of M Verby Ltd trading as MV Mobility, of Nanny Lane, Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and the company pleaded guilty to a further one offence.
The company was fined £1,000 and Mr Verby was fined £1,500. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,650, with a further £300 to be paid once parts have been returned by a consumer, and costs of £1,594 and courts surcharges of £250.
The court heard that Mr Verby had sold mobility scooters to consumers during visits to their homes in Sicklinghall, North Yorkshire, as well as Bridlington, Durham and Bishop Auckland, between July 2014 and June 2015 and had failed to provide a statutory notice of cancellation rights to them.
Mr Verby also pleaded guilty to an aggressive trading practice in relation to the Bridlington consumer who he told could not have a full refund when she cancelled her contract because the scooter was unsuitable.
Sentencing Verby, the chair of the bench said: “The aggravating features of this case were that you were dealing with vulnerable people in their homes who had called upon you to alleviate some of their mobility problems.” Magistrates heard that Mr Verby had been given advice by Trading Standards officers in 2012 and again in 2014 and said: “Advice was given in the clearest terms possible of the requirements of the law and you decided to go against this.”
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said:
When consumers buy goods and services in their homes, they have a right to cancel as a safeguard to ensure that they cannot be pressurised into buying something without time to think about it and to compare prices and products. Not only did MV Mobility fail to provide consumers with a statutory notice of their right to cancel, but Mr Verby also tried to prevent a consumer from exercising that right in full. I hope that this case will send a message that we will not tolerate these trading practices in North Yorkshire, especially in relation to mobility products which might be sold to more vulnerable consumers.
If anyone is concerned about a mobility product they or a relative has bought they should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.