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Dealing With Cowboy Builders

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 15 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Builders Construction Rogue Traders

Cowboy builders are the bane of the construction industry. There are, on average, at least 100,000 complaints every year about them. They ruin things for perfectly reputable builders, and for all the talk about them, they’re in the minority – it just happens to be a minority that gets a lot of publicity.

Cowboy builders are simply rogue traders, of course, often with little or no knowledge of building, so you end up with a botched job – that’s if it’s finished at all.

Protecting Yourself From Cowboy Builders

The best thing is to learn to spot the cowboy builders early, so you can turn them away – it saves a lot of trouble later. The first tip-off is if they asked to be paid in cash, or cash-in-hand all with a promise on no VAT to be paid. No legitimate business will work off the books like that.

If they say a contract isn’t necessary, watch out – it’s vital in a business transaction like this, and without it, your legal position is nowhere near as strong. Most rogue builders don’t carry insurance, either, which again could work to your detriment if an accident occurred.

Are they willing to provide a written estimate and costings for the job, as well as a time frame for each stage of the work? A proper tradesman would, quite gladly. Where they do offer a quote, it could be unusually low, and they might offer to begin work immediately.

Do they have references? Do they have premises and a landline number, or simply a van and a mobile?

All of the above should raise red flags. You can protect yourself by having everything in writing and ask for a guarantee. Check references, talk to the people who’ve had the work done, and look at the work if possible. Ask your family and your friends for recommendations. Get several estimates and remember, cheapest isn’t always a savings.

It’s a help, too, if the builders and members of some trade group – although check that as well, since cowboy building firms have been known to fake membership. Finally, never pay in cash, and certainly never upfront – you should only pay for work that’s been completed.

What To Do If You’re A Victim Of A Cowboy Builder

Sometimes, though, the cowboys do win, and the building work is a shambles. What should have been wonderful construction work is a mess, and the builders have moved on. What can you do?

What they’ve done constitutes fraud, so you should complain to the police, giving them as much information on the builder as possible. Also complain to Trading Standards, which takes a very harsh view of rogue traders.

If you can track down the cowboy builder and he refuses to refund your money, take him to court. In the event of a small job, small claims court will likely suffice, and won’t cost you much. In the event of a big job, though, you will be looking at some hefty legal bills.Either way, it’s a lot of problems, and you still need to employ a proper builder to do the work correctly. The best solution, always, is to take the time and find someone who’ll do it right the first time.

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40 New build houses. 8 month ago we moved in to our new build house, the last of 40 on our road. There has been a few unfinished jobs and mainly cosmetic problems with our house. After speaking with neighbours they too have the same problems and the builders are uncontactable. The main issue is that the road is incomplete along with large walls which would all cost a lot of money to complete. It does not look like the builders will be coming back to complete the job and this would mean the council will not take over maintenance of an incomplete private road. Please can you offer any advise on this. Many Thanks.
Robert - 15-Aug-18 @ 9:05 PM
Dear Tina, Dont know if you have read my recent post ? But as someone who learnt the hard way, having undergone the Small Claims Court process (successfully) I can advise you generally on best practise.... Email the Trademan with polite requests, you then have a record. Give them a reasonable time frame to respond. List what you are unhappy with. If they are "unreasonable" tell them you will get second opinions, and ask them to pay. You can employ the Services of professionals who will document the problems. At Small Claims Court, ask yourself what would a REASONABLE person think is fair and proportionate. A lot of tradesmen are greedy and lazy and play on the fact that most people do not want the hassle of going to Court. If they are accredited with a professional body, or advertise on trades sites, involve them, negative press will hit them where it hurts. Decent tradespersons will want to complete the job to a satisfactory standard, after all most business is word of mouth, dodgy ones wont care less !
Southwood - 7-Aug-18 @ 1:42 PM
Tina - Your Question:
I had building work done about 3 months ago where the builders ripped out the kitchen, floor and bathroom. They seemed to have done a good job but just 3 days ago the electrics in the kitchen seem to stop working. I've taken all the plugs out of the sockets flicked the switch on again from the fuse box but still does not work. I called the builders and told what had happened he came to see what the problem was and said he'd call his electrician who is obviously not wanting to come. The builders are not taking any responsibility for the works they undertook and rectifying the problem. What can I do?

Our Response:
Was the whole project arrranged by the builder or did you appoint the electrician separately?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 7-Aug-18 @ 12:45 PM
Earlier this year I successfully took a small builder in Farnborough, Hants, to Small Claims Court and won substantial compensation for his substandard workmanship. He had arrogantly denied any wrong doing, despite professional second opinions. He blamed me and would not admit ANY wrong doing. I paid for a Forensic Building consultant to examine his work, and draw up a report for Court, that even identified what Building Regs had been breached. Again the Builder said it was nonsense. We went to Court, he stalled, blamed me, but common sense won. I needed bailiffs to recover my money, he tried to tell them he owned nothing. Luckily they are used to people like him. I eventually got the full amount owed. Moral of the story: Check they are known to FMB ? Do they belong to Professional Trade Associations. Check companies house, are they a dissolved company. Do they advertise through professional sites, if not, why ?? Do they show and charge VAT. Are their business details correct and up to date. Finally, a gem: ALWAYS check the online CCJ register. For a few pounds you can check their history. It may just save you months of heartache and many thousands of pounds.
Southwood - 6-Aug-18 @ 9:56 AM
I had building work done about 3 months ago where the builders ripped out the kitchen, floor and bathroom. They seemed to have done a good job but just 3 days ago the electrics in the kitchen seem to stop working. I've taken all the plugs out of the sockets flicked the switch on again from the fuse box but still does not work. I called the builders and told what had happened he came to see what the problem was and said he'd call his electrician who is obviously not wanting to come. The builders are not taking any responsibility for the works they undertook and rectifying the problem. What can I do?
Tina - 5-Aug-18 @ 8:08 PM
Hi. I'm seeking advice. My family put a add on fb for some ground work and gardening to ve done.( the aim to make our back garden disability freindly for me to actually use and enjoy) two blokes came to give a quote. Id seen the works van drop em off so knew to make my way to the front door. Id noticed the company logoon the uniform they had on too.I showed them the side of the house that had a large kinda flower /weed bed that was to be dug out and paved the spare soil was to be utilised to level off the upper part of the garden to again be paved or concreted. We agreed that the the digging out and leveling needed to be the first job to be done with the project. They went on about the company they work for already having all the plant machinery they need so they could start as soon as. A few days later. again i saw the works pickup pullup with a trailer and a mini digger on the back. So again i made my way to the door. They were already of loading the mini digger. So i left them to their work. About 20mins in my electric started to flicker. I went out and asked if there was any problems because the electrics were flickering'oh no no there are no electric cables down ere' they both repeated waving their hands up and down the side of my house. So i turned and went back indoors. It happend again so again i went out to stress my concerns about the electric. To again both of them assuring me it was definitely not them because they are telling me there are no cables down the side of the house. Back in doors i went again. within minutes its actually tripped the electric and i had to firstly go to the box to flip the switch to get the lights back on. When i got back out to tlk to the lads again no sooner had i got the same answer when there was an almighty bang and a flash! The guy driving the digger had ripped through the mains electric cable. Cutting off my electric and two of my neighbours.I wasnt happy. I called the national gridwho wanted to speak to the builders so i past the phone to the driver of the digger.Who then said to me right their coming out to sort that out and get the electric back on. So relieved i said ok while apologising to my neighbour. The next thing i know the works pickup is back the digger is back on the trailer and gone (i did take pictures of the pickup and the company) I left the lads digging by hand and went to calm down my son came home they asked him for there money while saying not much we can do now till theyve been out to fix that (pointing at the cut cable) so we will be back tomorrow to finish if off. Then my son came up and told me theyd gone and was coming back. But i had a really bad feeling about it then he mentioned hed paid them. I must admit i went nuts with him. I just knew the way the company had so quickly turned up to get the digger up Anyway cut a long story short 7 weeks later its an absolute heartrending mess. They never came back i even name and shamed them on fb but found sit
Mandy - 17-Jun-18 @ 12:55 AM
After chasing a Cowboy builder unsuccessfully through the courts for six years. I changed tack and reported him to HMRC for tax evasion, he was fined £85,000. Ok I still haven't got my money ,but I feel great!!!. Courts are powerless and fraudsters know this. The more information you give HMRC the better. You may not find out any results(mine was given at a court hearing),but just think of the hassle he will get. Try it!!!! what have you got to lose. These fraudsters need stopping and the courts are useless.
ptolemy - 27-May-18 @ 1:11 PM
I had a builder in last November to lay a new paved driveway build a front garden wall and erect a fence. We have had a surveyor's report on the wall and it's built on insufficient foundations. Ultimately the wall will buckle and fail. The mortar is all different consistencies and you can scrape it out with your finger. The perps all different widths and the surface of the wall covered in mortar. The fence posts aren't verticle and the fence panels have had battens attached. The driveway is already sinking. I've contacted the builder and all he says is we were happy with it when it was done. He said he was going to get his own surveyor out but hasn't done. He knows full well he's done a botched job. I got him through an Internet site which says they vet and monitor all tradesmen, you know the one. He has no business address on his invoice, no invoice number only his business name. He won't provide his address to send legal documents to, got an address from the said internet site and sent a recorded letter to this, his mum's address, it was returned 2 weeks later stating no longer at this address. Contacted police who aren't interested and say it's a civil case. What can I do to get this address? Paid nearly £9000and we purchased the fencing ourselves. He doesn't reply to emails and is still continuing to trade. He is using uploads of other peoples work claiming them to be his and is still claiming to be a member of this internet site but isn't. He cancelled his membership as soon as our review went live. Any advice of where to go from here? Already contacted Trading Standards and Citizen's advice but we still are unable to get his address even though he still advertises from his mum's address andalso his partner's business address.
maggie - 29-Mar-18 @ 1:33 PM
I have A house that I let. I had it removated recently and unfortunately some of the work was unfinished. The people who rented the house were well aware of this. They agreed to ove into the house for a reduced fee while the builder finished them outstanding work. As a result of the tenant's controlling and aggressive behaviour the builder left. Prior to that, the tenant asked if we could stop all work as they wanted a rest from it. I agreed that the tenant's father could hang a couple of doors - that was all. Unbeknownst to me, the tenant's father took it upon himself to do a lot of other diy jobs , many of which were unnecessary and all substandard and anyway not to my taste or in keeping with the recently completely refurbishedproperty. He expected me to pay some £1700 (which a local builder quoted £500) and the tenant has refused to pay the rent for two months. I feel that they have obtained money by deception In other words, they have committed fraud. I would value your opinion.
Eedee - 26-Mar-18 @ 2:17 PM
I had some work done on my house, some guttering put at the front and back of my house,the driveway power washed and had a quote for some painting to be done, I am not happy with the work that has been done, the guttering is cut short, the driveway looks a right mess, I have payed for the guttering and driveway but have said I won't pay for the painting they have started, I was told it would be sanded down and then painted they didn't even wipe it over just painted over dirty boards, the company had been badgering me for the money for the painting and have said they will call the police and make sure no other company will do any work on my property,I have written down all the quotes I was given and how much I have paid, I have told them I will not pay them anymore money but have started to be very nasty, what can I do?
Pus - 6-Feb-18 @ 10:28 PM
Had a summer built . I was ill indoors after recovering from sepsis brain infection, kidney failure found id also had a stroke. when i went outside i was shocked at what had been done leaving a young lad putting doors on and said the boss had gone and he had never done work like this other than laying slabs.He said they were coming back tomorrow so icould complain to the boss that was 2 years ago they have never been no where near ever i took company to small claims where ive been battling with the company who folded months later.im left with a summerhouse i cant use the floor was cracked,roofnot pinned down wrong wood usedits rough sawn timber very abrazive is cracking and been told its the cheapest wood used and the nails have been hammered in so deep its cracked all the wood all sides of wood is splitting not planed has wanted because of young grandchildren and im disabled with walking probs and needed it has support if i stumble has had it put next to the path way but if your skin comes into contact it will tear your skin and have splinters .i have photos which judge and defendants have.I have joiners report, shed builder report but judge wont accept saying not enough evidence.It was built to be a sewing room so keep my body active and my mind even door hingers rusty screws were hammered in cracking wood so they will come apart doors will fall off cant open and shuts doors I feel has tho im fighting both the ex company and the judge having to have a property suveyor will cost hundred and tried some but they wont do the survey on summerhouses im screwed I been cheated by this company who had no intention of doing a good job found out the boss isnt a joiner by trade but the lies they get away with saying theres nothing wrong with the summerhouse and i have photos.How can this company get away with this im so angrey with the justice system this small claims court procedure is a laugh thats why its been going on for 2 years and the summerhouse is wet water coming under roof.CAB dont want to know they say they cant do anything.Trading standards are supposed to be ringing me but nothing.who else is there to help me ??MAT
Annie - 5-Feb-18 @ 1:26 PM
Too sweet - Your Question:
Hi I have had a few jobs done by a builder who lives opposite where we live, the works has seemed fine initially. However over the past 2 years our patio doors have leaked due to the guttering he fitted now neon done properly. This week the so called protectacote rendering has now fallen off. I also had a boiler fitted by him which is coming away from the wall! Considering he has clearly not done work properly but this was about 2 years ago where do I stand? I have called him to come and see his handy work but no show. It is obviously made more difficult given we are neighbours.

Our Response:
You will have to negotiate with the builder. If he refuses to make necessary rectifications, you may have to see compensation (via the courts)
ConsumerRightsExpert - 2-Feb-18 @ 2:24 PM
Hi I have had a few jobs done by a builder who lives opposite where we live, the works has seemed fine initially. However over the past 2 years our patio doors have leaked due to the guttering he fitted now neon done properly. This week the so called protectacote rendering has now fallen off. I also had a boiler fitted by him which is coming away from the wall! Considering he has clearly not done work properly but this was about 2 years ago where do I stand? I have called him to come and see his handy work but no show. It is obviously made more difficult given we are neighbours.
Too sweet - 31-Jan-18 @ 10:54 PM
HiI had the bathroom and toilet done a few months ago Last month the tiles in the toilet cracked all 11 of them The builder came to see them and he told me to buy replacement tiles When I got in touch with him againhe told me that there has been movement and told me he will charge me I have been to my tile shop to ask their advice and they say that he tiled on wood and therefore he should have lined the wall first and used expendible adhesiveHe is now not answering my calls or textswhat should I do
paula - 29-Jan-18 @ 9:06 AM
cherryed - Your Question:
Hello,I wanted to ask advice as to what to do. I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 6 years and so found a handyman from recommendation. He had completed a couple of jobs before and I was happy. I had Airbnb guests staying and they damaged the sink so I asked Mark to come and fix it as soon as he could. I had just come back from my uncles funeral that day and was feeling emotional and I explained the situation to mark. He started quoting lots of numbers. Anyway, the situation got out of hand and he ended up charging £1018 for replacing a tap, fixing the piping and 'made good' the panelling underneath. He had already asked for half of the money to be transferred upfront. So I paid £450. I started to get suspicious and by chance I bumped into a guy who I've met years ago who repairs work in the block. I asked him to come and have a look and he said that job should have taken 2 hours and no more than £250. He also told me to get quotes from others and they all came in around £250 plus materials. So I've already overlaid for the job and he is demanding the rest. I refused until he showed me receipts and he started to get very aggressive and nasty. I even called the police and they are taking a statement. I guess the question is - what do I do? I'm feeling harassed and concerned about my safety and don't want to be bullied into paying the rest which is clearly a sham. I'm a single women and feel very vulnerable and I'm worried he will throw a brick through my window or something. Any help will be much appreciated, thank you.

Our Response:
Hold you ground if you can,what did the police advise? Pay him for the work he's already done (your othercontacts should be able to give you an idea of what that should have been). If you feel you are out of pocket after this, the small claims court is the place to go next. Some advice for the future which no doubt you will already be aware of/thinking of now:
Always get a written quote before hand - that way you can establish whether costs are realistic.
Never pay anything up front.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 2-Jan-18 @ 10:41 AM
Hello, I wanted to ask advice as to what to do. I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 6 years and so found a handyman from recommendation. He had completed a couple of jobs before and I was happy. I had Airbnb guests staying and they damaged the sink so I asked Mark to come and fix it as soon as he could. I had just come back from my uncles funeral that day and was feeling emotional and I explained the situation to mark. He started quoting lots of numbers. Anyway, the situation got out of hand and he ended up charging £1018 for replacing a tap, fixing the piping and 'made good' the panelling underneath. He had already asked for half of the money to be transferred upfront. So I paid £450. I started to get suspicious and by chance I bumped into a guy who I've met years ago who repairs work in the block. I asked him to come and have a look and he said that job should have taken 2 hours and no more than £250. He also told me to get quotes from others and they all came in around £250 plus materials. So I've already overlaid for the job and he is demanding the rest. I refused until he showed me receipts and he started to get very aggressive and nasty. I even called the police and they are taking a statement. I guess the question is - what do I do? I'm feeling harassed and concerned about my safety and don't want to be bullied into paying the rest which is clearly a sham. I'm a single women and feel very vulnerable and I'm worried he will throw a brick through my window or something. Any help will be much appreciated, thank you.
cherryed - 23-Dec-17 @ 1:42 AM
Had a builder in to renovate a garage and two small brick sheds. He put in three second hand windows and three second hand doors. Plus Cladded the garage roof. He never gave a quote despite being constantly asked. ‘Don’t worry it won’t come to much’ he kept putting off. I had a roundabout figure of £2.500 in mind. He had just given me a bill of £7.900. What recourse do I have in the way of an independent arbritation.
Steve - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:17 PM
sue - Your Question:
I had a builder who said he would renovate a propert/S for me which has been unoccupied for many years. He gave me a quote but in the meantime he moved himself into one the properties without our permission, We had told him he could do the work when his regular work was slow so that he was not going to lose out on his regular work. He has taken total advantage of this. He moved from his rented house in 2012 - Spring 2017 which is when I threw him out, He has since sent us an invoice for almost £79.000 and the work is a disgrace, The house on the outside still looks derelict and the work inside is incomplete, filthy, substandard. He keeps threatening to take us to court which is what I have constantly encouraged him to to because that is the only way I would get any satisfaction, I have shown his solicitor around the house and he could not get out of the house fast enough because of the disgraceful work and filthy. The solicitor even tripped up because the steps on approach to the house are not level and there is no handrail which we requested initially from the builder as the steps are stone and uneven. I have had an Indepandant Surveyor around the house at a cost of almost £700 which I find to be money well spent. He spent a couple of hours in the property and then sent me a Full Report 60 pages in fact and 103 photographs, He told me to give it to the builders solicitor. I informed the builder about the report and he wants a copy but I have told him I will give it to his solicitors only. The builder has now informed me that he is not using the solicitor he had taken some advice from (maybe its because the solicitor told him that he would have no chance of winning a court case after the solicitor himself had seen the inside and outside of the property). The builder is still insisting I show him the report but I have told him now if he carries on harassing me I will take HIM to court for harrassment, He said he is now using another solicitor but the builder has been out of the country visiting family in Australia since early October and I think I would have heard from a solicitor by now if he had instructed one. He has been emailing me harassing me since he has been out of the country but I have told him to take me to court because I think this is the only way for a resolution. He has also been telling me that he had been advised by his solicitor to get an Independant Assessor to look at the property which I have encouraged him to do and to pass my phone number to the surveyor to access the property. I would stop anyone going around the property. In fact I have told the builder that I would have an open day for his friends and family to see his wokmanship and any of his future clients. I am sure he would never get anymore work and his friends would since what a cowboy builder he is. He has been telling everyone that he owns the property and that he is is business with my husband. My husband has never been in business

Our Response:
This is a civil matter for the courts now really. Sorry we can't be of any more help.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:25 PM
CARROT CAKE - Your Question:
Hi We are in a pickle our builder turned out to be awful. (We did go for the middle quote and get references though we opted for a sole trader so we could just pay labour and save money by sourcing our own materials ) We had a two storey extension built. We were paying in agreed installments of cash. We refused to pay the last instalment Until the build was satisfactory. We were not happy with the finished look of the roof and other aspects of workmanship. He became aggressive when we met to go though the list and he threatened us for not giving the money as he said building control were happy so that should be good enough. We got other builders in to quote but no one would touch it so we got a structural engineer in and it turns out he decided not to follow the original plans. He redesigned the new part of the roof (original quote was for replacement not add on) and put an undersized RSJ in. the roof is also inadequately fixed together. New quotes in are >£26k as the roof needs to come off. CAB basically wash their hands of it and told me to go to solicitor. Building control now decided the RSJ and woodwork doesn’t comply despite visiting the site 2 time previously earlier in the build specifically to reassure us that the roof was meeting regs. Like most people we have loaned and saved to get the work done but now we are looking at finding thousands more before we even know if the builder will pay up? Plus we are sharing a relatives spare room with 5 of us living in one room. Is there anything we can do to make the next part more affordable? Can we claim money before getting the work done? Could we claim money for the costs of doing the repair work ourselves rather than the building firm costs (ie our lost earnings and our time + materials etc) ? What happens if the trader can’t pay up?

Our Response:
This is a matter for the courts. The builder has breached your contract, if he has not constructed the roof to your agreed plans. Unfortunately we can't give specific legal advice about what or how you should claim. If you look around you might find a solicitor who offers a free first interview session.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 27-Nov-17 @ 2:51 PM
Sandy - Your Question:
We had a quote for garden to be dug out conservatory taken down and rebuilt we had a quote of £20,000 pound which we agreed and shook hands on a surveyor came round measured up the work then the company Director came and stated the money could be returned as the job would cost £36,500. With resin drive as well. We asked if they really wanted the Job ,He assured us yes and they would do a very good job as one work load was done the other would be started right away by the next work persons for job.never stop working on the job.He said the work would take up to six weeks to complete we agreed to start the job 11th september we went to aus 22nd september and were assuresd the work would be almost finished when we returned on 4th Nov and asked if we would pay the money to get the materials for the job we held back £2,000 neigbours and friends rang us in Aus and said the workers were only doing a few hours then leaving the Director came at a weekend with one employer not for long and did very little work. we rang the director he said they were on track and there would be very little to do not worry just a little plastering to do if any. when we returned just the walls which were almost complete when we left and two brick inserts to hold the girder were up. we have spoken to another Director who tells lies like the first Director makes promises but mean nothing and just a little rendering has been done and a door replaced which was wrong and left with gaps in all the time we were on holiday. We are being completly ignored just a total break down in communication what is the best way to deal with a company like this have asked for us to have our money back as it looks like we will be living in a mess like this forever. today the 23rd november. PLEASE CAN YOU ADVICE US. Kind Regards Sandy

Our Response:
This is a case for the civil courts really. Clearly they builders have already done some work, but if it's not to standard or within defined timescales, the builders have breached their side of the contract.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 27-Nov-17 @ 2:46 PM
I omitted to say on my previous comments. The builder is telling people that he is in business with my husband. I told the builder to stop lies.My husband has never been in business with himMy husband has been in business on his own for almost 60 years on his own so why should he decide to go into business with him.I've told the builder we don't want unhappy clients of his knocking on our door. The Independant Survey said when he was leaving me at the house/s when he shook my hand was 'I do not know how much it is going to cost to put it right but I can tell you it is all going to have to be done again' He has also signed a Statement of Truth on his report. .
sue - 24-Nov-17 @ 9:04 AM
I had a builder who said he would renovate a propert/S for me which has been unoccupied for many years. He gave me a quote but in the meantime he moved himself into one the properties without our permission,We had told him he could do the work when his regular work was slow so that he was not going to lose out on his regular work.He has taken total advantage of this.He moved from his rented house in 2012 - Spring 2017 which is when i threw him out,He has since sent us an invoice for almost £79.000 and the work is a disgrace, The house on the outside still looks derelict and the work inside is incomplete, filthy, substandard. He keeps threatening to take us to court which is what I have constantly encouraged him to to because that is the only way I would get any satisfaction,I have shown his solicitor around the house and he could not get out of the house fast enough because of thedisgraceful work and filthy.The solicitor even tripped up because the steps on approach to the house are not level and there is no handrail which we requested initially from the builder as the steps are stone and uneven.I have had an Indepandant Surveyor around the house at a cost of almost £700 which I find to be money well spent.He spent a couple of hours in the property and then sent me a Full Report 60 pages in fact and 103 photographs, He told me to give it to the builders solicitor.I informed the builder about the report and he wants a copy but I have told him I will give it to his solicitors only.The builder has now informed me that he is not using the solicitor he had taken some advice from (maybe its because the solicitor told him that he would have no chance of winning a court case after the solicitor himself had seen the inside and outside of the property). The builder is still insisting I show him the report but I have told him now if he carries on harassing me I will take HIM to court for harrassment, He said he is now using another solicitor but the builder has been out of the country visiting family in Australia since early October and I think I would have heard from a solicitor by now if he had instructed one.He has been emailing me harassing me since he has been out of the country but I have told him to take me to court because I think this is the only way for a resolution. He has also been telling me that he had been advised by his solicitor to get an Independant Assessor to look at the property which I have encouraged him to do and to pass my phone number to the surveyor to access the property. I would stop anyone going around the property. In fact I have told the builder that I would have an open day for his friends and family to see his wokmanship and any of his future clients. I am sure he would never get anymore work and his friends would since what a cowboy builder he is.He has been telling everyone that he owns the property and that he is is business with my husband.My husband has never been in business
sue - 24-Nov-17 @ 8:52 AM
Hi We are in a pickle our builder turned out to be awful. (We did go for the middle quote and get references though we opted for a sole trader so we could just pay labour and save money by sourcing our own materials ) We had a two storey extension built. We were paying in agreed installments of cash. We refused to pay the last instalment Until the build was satisfactory. We were not happy with the finished look of the roof and other aspects of workmanship. He became aggressive when we met to go though the list and he threatened us for not giving the money as he said building control were happy so that should be good enough. We got other builders in to quote but no one would touch it so we got a structural engineer in and it turns out he decided not to follow the original plans. He redesigned the new part of the roof(original quote was for replacement not add on) and put an undersized RSJ in. the roof is also inadequately fixed together. New quotes in are >£26k as the roof needs to come off. CAB basically wash their hands of it and told me to go to solicitor.Building control now decided the RSJ and woodwork doesn’t comply despite visiting the site 2 time previously earlier in the build specifically to reassure us that the roof was meeting regs. Like most people we have loaned and saved to get the work done but now we are looking at finding thousands more before we even know if the builder will pay up? Plus we are sharing a relatives spare room with 5 of us living in one room. Is there anything we can do to make the next part more affordable? Can we claim money before getting the work done? Could we claim money for the costs of doing the repairwork ourselves rather than the building firm costs (ie our lost earnings and our time + materials etc) ? What happens if the trader can’t pay up?
CARROT CAKE - 23-Nov-17 @ 9:59 PM
We had a quote for garden to be dug out conservatory taken down and rebuilt we had a quote of£20,000 pound which we agreed and shook hands on a surveyor came round measured up the work then the company Director came and stated the money could be returned as the job would cost£36,500. Withresin drive as well. We asked if they really wanted the Job ,He assured us yes and they would do a very good job as one work load was done the other would be started right away by the next work persons for job.never stop working on the job .He said the work would take up to six weeks to complete we agreed to start the job 11th september we went to aus 22nd september and were assuresd the work would be almost finished when we returned on 4th Nov and asked if we would pay the money to get the materials for the job we held back £2,000 neigbours and friends rang us in Aus and said the workers were only doing a few hours then leaving the Director came at a weekend with one employer not for long and did very little work. we rang the director he said they were on track and there would be very little to do not worry just a little plastering to do if any . when we returned just the walls which were almost complete when we leftand two brick inserts to hold the girder were up . we have spoken to another Director who tells lies like the first Director makes promises but mean nothing and just a little rendering has been done and a door replaced which was wrong and left with gaps in all the time we were on holiday. We are being completly ignored just a total break down in communication what is the best way to deal with a company like this have asked for us to have our money back as it looks like we will be living in a mess like this forever. today the 23rd november. PLEASE CAN YOU ADVICE US. Kind Regards Sandy
Sandy - 23-Nov-17 @ 8:59 PM
Employed a reputable (allegedly)plumbing firm to put new bathroom suite in after removing old one. They have made a real mess of it and i wondered where i stand as i dont want them back in my house. The toilet wasnt level and when i said so, the guy said that it was basically the best he could do as it was bolted down. This is not good enough for me as its the first thing you see on entering my bathroom. He tried again....still no joy and i saw that hehad banged a screw into the sealant to try and level it up....the result being that he has cracked the bottom of the bowl and tried,to hide it with sealant. The sealant around the bath and sink is terrible, the cistern is not flush againt the wall, its,on an angle. He tried to prise the old cistern off with a crow bar and surprise....cracked a tile (about 6inches in length) which cannot be covered up...chipped 2 other tiles when taking out old sink, unlevel shower sreen over bath which isnt sealed against the wall, leaking toilet and best of all....my towel ladder heater is on the wall upside down....i bought an extendable bath panel which they cannot fit as they dont know how to......so i would have to get ajoiner in at more expense go us.....on top of this he disappeared for 2 hours pretending he needed some fixings for the towel heater, came back stating everywhere was shut, went home promising to come back first thing next morning (saturday) to which my husband stayed in for him but he didnt turn up until 5pm that saturday night...after making things worse my husband said he thought he had better go as i was getting really angry. They have offered to come back and refit a new loo,at their cost but this cannot be facilitated on our part as we all work during the week and he wants,to come midweek. Where do we,stand,as i just want to get someone,decent to finish it off....thanks
Cb - 20-Nov-17 @ 8:56 PM
Spanner - Your Question:
Hi, Can you help ? Extension >100k. Contract admin person suspected in cahoots with builder. Odd behaviour for a professional + certified work done incorrectly. Tricky re what to do as heaps if defects, damage, ommissions contrary to JCT contract. Builder offering silly deal yet we have paid way over expected and their logos not legit. We feel both have diddled us. No £ to take builder to court but have house insurance to take contract admin ( designer). Do we employ new Contract admin or ask trading STDs to take up our case ? Their website lies - claims. Thanks

Our Response:
You should definitely report to Trading Standards, we can't really advise on steps to take legally as we don't have all the relevant information.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Nov-17 @ 2:12 PM
Hi, Can you help ? Extension >100k. Contract admin person suspected in cahoots with builder. Odd behaviour for a professional + certified work done incorrectly. Tricky re what to do as heaps if defects, damage, ommissions contrary to JCT contract. Builder offering silly deal yet we have paid way over expected and their logos not legit. We feel both have diddled us. No £ to take builder to court but have house insurance to take contract admin ( designer). Do we employ new Contract admin or ask trading STDs to take up our case ? Their website lies - claims. Thanks
Spanner - 2-Nov-17 @ 10:10 PM
I have massive evidence against this delusional , in denial . a layer builder and Ineed presentation in court.
Joe - 30-Oct-17 @ 8:59 AM
Paulio - Your Question:
Back in 2010 we had a loft conversion done, by what looked like a reputable company who were local and had excellent reviews online. We agreed on a set budget and a completion time.In the event work began and the structure of the roof conversion became an issue with building control. This was debated back and forth between BC and the builder and was eventually resolved when we were forced to bring in a structural engineer who sided with BC. The builder then had to carry out further works to placate both. I was advised the blame was to be laid with the architect and the builder who employed him.Further to this the builder refused to fit appropri ate ventilation (vented ridge tiles) which were also recommended by BC. In doing so he set back the completion date by nearly 6 months, which cost us in terms of work as we had planned to use the space to generate earnings. Building Control admitted they had had many issues with the builder in past and current contracts and could not sign off the conversion for use until the works were completed as prescribed. The builder knew this upon entering into the agreement but refused to acknowledge or agree to it. Payments were made throughout the build as the builders material and employee costs were raised. As said, after 6 months off site the builder turned up out of the blue and fitted the tiles - this took an hour and the cost of the extra tiles was tiny in comparison to the trouble not fitting them had caused us. Nevertheless BC signed off the work at last.After a very heated discussion with the builder (resulting in him being verbally abusive and swearing in front of my wife, children and wifes colleagues) I removed him from the property forcibly. I requested a final bill of costs to be negotiated in consideration of the timescale issues and adjusted for the extra materials (which I had no issues paying for).We never managed to reach any agreement on the amounts to be settled as the builder initially sent a bill which didn't consider past payments, then another which made no sense and finally one which took no account of our costs. At this point we were at a loss to deal with him and communications ended. Fast forward to today and while applying for a mortgage we are informed there is a CCJ on my wifes name. This hadn't shown in either of our Equifax or Clearscore reports.So we use the information to find out that years ago the builder claimed over £15000 against us. We didn't contest this so we were given a CCJ to that amount by default (in absentia?).We have never received any further correspondence from the builder let alone a court so must assume the original judgement has to be brought back to the court for us to contest it - if that is at all possible.Its a long time since all this and our memories are very wooly but we did keep some receipts and correspondence from building control.Any idea how to progress?

Our Response:
It's worth seeking legal advice - did you just not pay anything? Were you informed of the iminent court case? If so, why didn't you attend? Sorry it really would be better to speak to someone such as a solicitor face to face about this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 20-Oct-17 @ 3:24 PM
Back in 2010 we had a loft conversion done, by what looked like a reputable company who were local and had excellent reviews online. We agreed on a set budget and a completion time. In the event work began and the structure of the roof conversion became an issue with building control. This was debated back and forth between BC and the builder and was eventually resolved when we were forced to bring in a structural engineer who sided with BC. The builder then had to carry out further works to placate both. I was advised the blame was to be laid with the architect and the builder who employed him. Further to this the builder refused to fit appropri ate ventilation (vented ridge tiles) which were also recommended by BC. In doing so he set back the completion date by nearly 6 months, which cost us in terms of work as we had planned to use the space to generate earnings. Building Control admitted they had had many issues with the builder in past and current contracts and could not sign off the conversion for use until the works were completed as prescribed. The builder knew this upon entering into the agreement but refused to acknowledge or agree to it. Payments were made throughout the build as the builders material and employee costs were raised. As said, after 6 months off site the builder turned up out of the blue and fitted the tiles - this took an hour and the cost of the extra tiles was tiny in comparison to the trouble not fitting them had caused us. Nevertheless BC signed off the work at last. After a very heated discussion with the builder (resulting in him being verbally abusive and swearing in front of my wife, children and wifes colleagues) I removed him from the property forcibly. I requested a final bill of costs to be negotiated in consideration of the timescale issues and adjusted for the extra materials (which I had no issues paying for). We never managed to reach any agreement on the amounts to be settled as the builder initially sent a bill which didn't consider past payments, then another which made no sense and finally one which took no account of our costs. At this point we were at a loss to deal with him and communications ended. Fast forward to today and while applying for a mortgage we are informed there is a CCJ on my wifes name. This hadn't shown in either of our Equifax or Clearscore reports. So we use the information to find out that years ago the builder claimed over £15000 against us. We didn't contest this so we were given a CCJ to that amount by default (in absentia?). We have never received any further correspondence from the builder let alone a court so must assume the original judgement has to be brought back to the court for us to contest it - if that is at all possible. Its a long time since all this and our memories are very wooly but we did keep some receipts and correspondence from building control. Any idea how to progress?
Paulio - 18-Oct-17 @ 3:41 PM
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