Press Release Issued By
North Yorkshire County Council




(3rd January 2001)

TRADING STANDARDS officers in North Yorkshire set up their own 'House of Horrors' to test the honesty and skill of traders and salesmen in the area.

In a similar operation to the TV show 'House of Horrors' they recorded the quality of the services from 22 traders and salesmen.

While the majority provided an excellent service, the covert recording at a secret location in North Yorkshire revealed:

  • The supply of a three-piece suite which didn't contain fire retardant foam and coverings
  • Repair to a gas cooker which was unnecessary, incurring an overcharge of 72
  • A fridge where a new thermostat was fitted when in fact the temperature dial on the fridge had just been turned down, costing the consumer 68
  • A firm of TV and aerial repairers supplied and fitted a new aerial when in fact only the lead connecting the aerial to the TV was snapped, leading to an overcharge to the householder of 92
  • A salesman from a company supplying burglar alarm systems falsely claimed the company was authorised by the Office of Fair Trading
  • A hand-delivered pizza which was falsely described as containing Mozzarella cheese when in fact it contained a cheap cheese substitute as well as scampi which turned out to be reformed minced shellfish

Stuart Pudney, head of North Yorkshire County Council's trading standards and regulatory services, said: "This survey of salesmen and domestic repairers provided mixed results. It was pleasing to see that the majority of traders are highly trustworthy and offer a good value for money service. However, there are a number of bad apples in the barrel that give this sector of trade a bad name.

Richard Flinton on 01609-766410


"Many householders are very vulnerable when they either invites salesmen into their home or tradesmen to repair a domestic appliance. Consumers with little ability to check on what they are being told have to take people at face value and it is a cause of concern that in doing so they could be ripped off.

"This service will target those unscrupulous traders who either serve consumers badly through their own incompetence or who purposefully set out to con people. By doing this we hope to protect consumers, give them the confidence to trust local traders and to help the many honest and trustworthy traders and salesmen to flourish.

"If any consumers or other businesses for that matter have any concerns about unscrupulous operators in this are then they are asked to contact us on 01609-780780 and ask for Trading Standards."


NOTE TO NEWSDESK: Pictures of Richard Flinton against a backdrop of some of the video footage are available. Unfortunately we will only be able to show those traders who supplied a good service, as the other footage could be used in future prosecutions.