A BURTON man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for fraudulently misleading customers into entering into costly financial agreements against their will.
Alan Wilson, 50, of Curzon Street, was one of four rogue salesmen sentenced to a combined total of 38 months following a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.
The salesman, who had been employed at DWS Environmental Ltd based in Bury St Edmunds, was handed six months in prison, suspended for 15 months, and ordered to do 90 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay £1,200 costs.
Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: "This case is a continual reminder that scammers don't just target consumers, they also con businesses.
"It is very easy to think that you won't be fooled, but scammers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to take your money.
"You must protect your business by making sure you and your staff are aware of the ways scammers operate, as new scams appear every day.
"I am pleased that justice has been served on this occasion."
Started in 2011 following numerous complaints from businesses, a Trading Standards investigation found sales representatives from DWS Environmental Ltd were altering rental agreements for the supply of water coolers and tea/coffee dispensers.
The salesmen initially stated to clients that they were tied in for rental periods of three, six or 12 months.
It was later found that the agreements were altered to tie clients into minimum rental periods of 63 or 75 months.
Businesses only realised they had been conned some time later when they received the lease agreement for the equipment.