BRADFORD window firm Safestyle UK has been fined £120,000 after admitting using aggressive, misleading or banned sales tactics to pressurise potential customers into agreeing a sale.

The firm, which has headquarters off Manningham Lane, pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of consumer protection legislation and was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £52,000 at Sheffield Crown Court.

The fine imposed on the company, which manufactures and installs uPVC windows and doors, is the highest imposed in the county for breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Aggressive practices from the firm include an 84-year-old man who was given misleading information about the cost of the work, and when he complained to head office and wanted to cancel, was threatened with "trouble".

Despite claiming to provide a free, no obligation 12 month quote, one 85-year-old was initially quoted £9,300 for two new windows, which dropped to £3,500. He was pressured for an immediate decision and the salesman refused to put the quote in writing.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 bans certain practices, including making persistent and unwanted sales calls and refusing to leave a consumer’s home when asked to do so.

A woman from Baildon agreed to receive a quote. The salesman initially quoted £18,000, then £10,000 for replacement windows and after phoning a manager quoted £7,000.

The salesman was unhappy no order was placed and the woman describes being given the "hard sell".

In an attempt to secure an order the salesman at one time asked for a payment of £795 to guarantee the quote for 18 months so the windows could be installed in stages. She was then subjected to multiple marketing calls in the 24 hours after she declined the quote.

Examples of breaches of consumer protection legislation took place across the country, including Rochdale, Rotherham, Milnrow, Coventry, Southampton, Bristol, Maldon, and Barrow-in-Furness.

The prosecution was brought by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), which is a partnership between West Yorkshire Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police and adult social care professionals. The team works to combat rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable.

Dave Lodge, head of trading standards, said: "The case and the level of fines imposed illustrates the seriousness with which the courts view companies who flout the laws designed to protect the public in general and the elderly and vulnerable in particular, I hope the case will serve as a warning to those sectors of the home improvement industry who put the pursuit of profit before ethical, commercial standards."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who has helped to provide joint funding for the specialist team, said: “The behaviour consistently demonstrated by Safestyle UK employees fell well below what is expected of any company, let alone an established brand.

"I welcome the substantial financial penalty imposed and the strong message this sends out that using aggressive, misleading behaviour and banned practices absolutely will not be tolerated. My thanks to the members of the public for reporting these instances and to Trading Standards for all their hard work in bringing this case to court.”

Councillor Jo Hepworth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, said: "This case is another excellent result for WYFEAT and highlights the unfair trading practices used by Safestyle. Today’s sentence sends a message that action will be taken against any company or individual found to use unscrupulous sales tactics against consumers."

If anyone has any information about any illegal sales tactics, they are advised to contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.