Firm fined £18k for using illegal Debt Collectors

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A Decorating firm has been fined nearly £18,000 in fines and court costs following a prosecution by Trading Standards.

Suffolk Trading Standards Office conducted a lengthy investigation into Breslin Decorators based in Bury St Edmunds, following reports of intimidation by Debt Collectors and illegal practices.

The offences came to light when a woman complained of visits from people who claimed to be ‘debt collectors’ demanding money for debts which where disputed due to excessive ‘over charging’.  Written statements wee taken from the lady by Police and she was found to have been a customer of Breslin Decorators.

Both reported ‘owed’ invoices were for work that far exceeded the initial estimates to correct rot in windowsills. The decorators did the work even though they were told not to.

Breslins Decorators is a firm owned by Michael Brevlin & Jason Brevlin, both also of Bury St Edmunds.

The case was heard at Bury Magistrates Court and also included statements from other customers who had suffered similar treatment in respect of purported debts owing.

Sarah Stamp, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for communities said “I feel the fines handed down by the magistrates clearly reflect the serious nature of the offences, particularly that of using an unverified debt collector to collect money”

The trading standards officer who worked on the case said the use of unqualified debt collectors, who were actually door staff from local public night spots, was “totally inappropriate”

Both defendants pleaded guilty to the charges, a total of six counts between then using misleading and aggressive tactics under the Consumer Protection from unfair trading regulations 2008.

Yet again, the legal system shows its contempt for the use of illegal Debt Collectors and we applaud the punishment handed out and may it serve as a lesson to others considering such unethical tactics.

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