A Lincoln woman and her son have been convicted after defrauding elderly customers of their Leeds vacuum business out of over £1.5 million.
Linda Scoffin, 66, of Hall Drive, Lincoln and her son Thomas Scoffin, 31, of Park Avenue, Leeds have been convicted at Leeds Crown Court of conspiracy to defraud following an investigation by National Trading Standards.
The pair ran Leeds-based Excel Servicing Ltd and defrauded their customers – many of whom were elderly or vulnerable – by falsely claiming to represent Dyson and then conducting unnecessary servicing on their Dyson vacuum cleaners.
The company cold-called members of the public by phone and told them their Dyson vacuum cleaners required a service.
Despite the company’s claim that people’s Dyson vacuum cleaners required servicing, Dyson vacuum cleaners do not require servicing at all.
When company representatives attended the homes of customers they conducted unnecessary ‘servicing’ on Dyson machines and, in some cases, damaged their Dyson vacuum cleaners.
Customers were often charged between £50 and £200 for the servicing and replacement of filters in the Dyson vacuums.
The typical charge for a new filter was £40 but investigations by the National Trading Standards Yorkshire & Humber Regional Investigations Team found that they were in fact worth between £2 and £5.
Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“The total money received by Excel Servicing from customers for this activity was over £1.5 million.
“This funded a lavish lifestyle for the defendants with money being spent on holidays, high-end clothing and a wedding for Ms Scoffin.
“Despite this Excel Servicing declared a loss to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customers during this period and paid no Corporation Tax.”
Thomas and Linda Scoffin will be sentenced next month and are to face confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.