Brave Mobility Aid witnesses are awarded Certificate of Commendation
A group of witnesses including victims and family members, who bravely stepped forward to help Derbyshire trading standards bring serial criminal Amarjit Gill to justice, have been awarded a Certificate of Commendation at the Trading Standards Institute’s Conference in Brighton on Thursday 20 June.
Gill traded nationally under various names from premises in Long Eaton selling mobility aids, generating more than 600 complaints to the trading standards service over a five year period for high-pressure selling, misleading claims, inflated prices, failure to honour cancellation rights and non-delivery of goods. In one 12-month period Gill’s business had a turnover of more than £1million.
Robert Taylour, head of trading standards at Derbyshire County Council, said: “Gill’s business model is, unfortunately, a familiar one. He obtained contacts lists commercially to specifically target older people. An initial telephone cold-call was made with the aim of getting sales staff an appointment into the homes of potential customers, where they would deploy aggressive high pressure sales techniques.
“Products were sold at vastly inflated prices with no proper assessment as to their suitability to the customer’s needs.
“Without the support of the individuals who had the misfortune to agree to Gill and his employees to come into their homes, Derbyshire trading standards would not have been able to bring him to justice. It takes a lot of personal fortitude to admit that you have been taken advantage of by a rogue, and even more courage to be prepared to do something about it.
“Many of his customers are elderly and some infirm, but they were not afraid to stand up for what they believed was right to ensure others would not suffer at the hands of this criminal. More than 40 were not only willing to give us a witness statement, but if necessary come to court to give evidence.”
Gill received an 18 month prison sentence and together with his wife was ordered to pay back £170,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
TSI’s chief executive Leon Livermore said: “We are delighted to be able to give national recognition to this group of senior citizens who were prepared to put their own embarrassment aside to make sure this callous and prolific rogue trader was put behind bars.
“It is truly commendable how this group of people came forward with grit and determination from across the country, despite their relative old age and frailty.”
Karen Clubb, senior lecturer in law at the University of Derby, said: “In coming forward these witnesses have given a voice to the many who suffered financial loss and in some cases consequent hardship as a result of the actions of these rogue traders. In highlighting their own personal experiences in such a public way, they have helped the public be vigilant to this problem and helped to protect others for the future."
Notes for Editors:
Witnesses in this group come from the following areas: Leicestershire, Purley, Stockport, Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire, Sheffield, Birmingham, Derbyshire, Shropshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Warwickshire.
Amarjit Gill’s traded as ABM Mobility, Virgo Mobility and Lifestyle mobility.
The University of Derby has been commissioned by Derbyshire trading standards to look into the impact of this type of crime on older victims.
The awards ceremony was at the Brighton Centre on Thursday 20 June at 11am. For interviews or photographs please contact Trading Standards Institute press officer Irja Howie on 07780675815or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.
The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2013
The Trading Standards Institute’s annual trading standards and consumer affairs Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe. The 2013 Conference was at Brighton Centre from Tuesday 18 June to Thursday 20 June.
Some 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations.
Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.
For more information please visit http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/events/conference2013.cfm and follow the #TSIConf13 stream on our @TSI_uk Twitter account.