Businessman jailed for unfair trading offences

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A FORMER company director who helped exploit elderly and vulnerable people in a sales scam has been jailed for two years.

John Alexander Higginson, 63, was involved with Compass Mobility Ltd, a Derbyshire based company who sold mobility aids to the elderly and disabled by using high pressure sales tactics.

A prosecution was brought by the Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group’s Scambuster team after numerous complaints were received between 2007 and 2009.

Higginson, of Locko Road, Lower Pilsley, Chesterfied, was jailed at Leeds Crown Court yesterday after he admitted 10 specimen offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Seven of the offences concerned the failure to return deposits to customers who had legitimately cancelled their agreements, two offences concerned the failure to properly explain the terms of the agreement and the final offence involved a salesman refused to leave an elderly person’s home despite being repeatedly asked to do so.

The court heard in the end the customer signed the agreement to get the salesman to go.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC also barred Higginson from being a company director for 10 years.

His sentence came two months after two fellow directors were each jailed for five years after they were convicted of conspiracy to defraud customers of Compass and another company Reo Marketing Ltd.

Colin Rumford, head of public protection at City of York Council and spokesperson for Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Scambuster Team, said: “Although Compass Mobility Limited was apparently not set up with the intention of defrauding customers, it quickly developed a range of trading practices that were intended to mislead, confuse and con the most vulnerable people in our communities. The sentencing of Higginson finally draws a line under Compass’s disgraceful activities.”