Mobility furniture salesman ‘stayed five hours’ on home visit, court hears

PUBLISHED: 14:05 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 11 October 2019

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A frail 84-year-old man lost nearly £2,000 after ordering a recliner chair from a Suffolk mobility furniture company, a court heard.

David Waters Picture: ARCHANTDavid Waters Picture: ARCHANT

A frail 84-year-old man lost nearly £2,000 after ordering a recliner chair from a Suffolk based mobility furniture company, a court heard.

Charles Weaver, who has diabetes, heart problems, two replacement knees and a new hip, arranged a home visit from an Anchor Mobility Ltd salesman after seeing a flyer for the company following a stay in hospital in 2017, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Mr Weaver said the salesman stayed at his home on the south coast for five hours and he was there for so long his wife cooked him lunch.

Mr Weaver described the salesman as being "a very good salesman" and "having the gift of the gab".

When Mr Weaver expressed concern about the cost of the recliner the salesman had offered to include a free two seater sofa in the deal and he was told the furniture would be delivered within four to eight weeks.

Mr Weaver wanted to pay by credit card but was told he had to pay the £1,908 deposit by cheque.

A second hand loan recliner was delivered to Mr Weaver after six weeks but he heard nothing about the furniture he had ordered.

When he tried to ring Anchor Mobility he got an answer machine message saying that no-one was available.

Mr Weaver told the court he hadn't heard from Anchor Mobility since and had not received his furniture or a refund of his £1,908 deposit.

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David Waters, 71, of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, sole director of Anchor Mobility, denies fraudulent trading by taking payment without delivering goods, pressurising customers to make purchases, and failing to issue refunds between October 2016 and August 2017.

Waters and Anchor Mobility deny engaging in an unfair commercial practice which contravened requirements of professional diligence between October 2016 and August 2017.

The company and Waters also deny 15 offences of being engaged in misleading commercial practices by failing to fulfil representations that furniture would be delivered to customers within an agreed time period.

Waters and the company also deny failing to refund money to a customer in March 2017.

The 18 charges were brought after an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards.

It has been alleged that 26 customers were left more than £80,000 out of pocket after paying Waters, who was the sole director of Anchor Mobilty Ltd, for mobility furniture including made to measure chairs, sofas and beds they never received,

The court heard Waters had previously run a similar business called Mobility UK Ltd and in 2013 he and the company had pleaded guilty to several offences under consumer protection and unfair trading regulations.

"These offences show that Mr Waters has a propensity to commit these type of offences," said John Goulding, prosecuting.

He said that after Mobilty UK Ltd, Waters had run two similar businesses - UK Mobilty Direct and Westminster Recliners - and had taken out a £300,000 loan from a finance company.

Mr Goulding claimed that between January 2017 and August 2017 Anchor Mobility repaid £132,000 off the £300,000 loan while taking deposits from Anchor Mobility customers.

"Over a significant period when money was being received by Anchor from customers, David Waters through Anchor bank accounts was repaying the debts of Westminster Recliners Ltd, " alleged Mr Goulding.

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, continues.

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