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Dealing With Cowboy Builders

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 8 Apr 2021 | 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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Leigh Williams is a cowboy builder please be careful.
Cat - 30-Mar-21 @ 12:55 PM
Just a word of warning to avoid a Donovan Elliott from Harrow who says he builds Garden Rooms. He uses many company names and aliases.Building work is of a very poor standard and he rarely finishes. He's happy to take your money. Beware!
Unhappy - 23-Mar-21 @ 6:58 PM
I had Indian stone laid..he started in December 2020 and finished the job beginning of January he I paid in full because it really did look like he had done a good job ..eventually....but now the flags have started coming up and he's blaming every thing from the weather to my dogs...he said his work was guaranteed for a year but all he seems to be doing is fobbing me off...im literally at my wits end with him as I can't afford to get anyone else in to rectify his shoddy workmanship.
Teejay - 10-Mar-21 @ 2:07 PM
Regards my earlier comment at the beginning of my report about the vile, lying, thieving, despicable individual, his name isTOM TIERNEY. I missed out the first couple letters ...
Heartbroken - 26-Feb-21 @ 10:53 PM
Pleasepleaseplease don’t use Simons landscape Gardener on Facebook from Liverpool likes to take your money and leave a fine mess behind then blocks you thinking he can get away with what he’s doing he likes to use a fake name is not a registered company and has no insurance we are in touch with trading standards over him and we are not the only ones he’s done it to
Hayleyf84 - 15-Feb-21 @ 1:08 AM
AVOID AVOID AVOID NEVER HAVE GRAEME NIGEL GILES AND MARIANNE LOUSE GILES OF RINGWOOD BUILDING SERVICES LTD FORMALLY OF BICKERLEY PROPERTY SERVICES LTD. they will take you for thousands and thousands of pounds large sums of it in cash not put through the company of your hard earned money and then put their company into liquidation. They’ve done this multiple times and have gotten away with it . As they have just done this to us leaving our home half finished. What work he has done with his so called experienced staff is no other than disgraceful. Graeme Giles is no other than totally incompetent and has has no useful knowledge of the building construction industry.for example he built a large rear warm deck dorma roof on our house and because he constructed it wrong from the start the end product was like corrugated wood. So what does he do , he applied interior self levelling floor concrete toit to solve the corrugated effect leaving it flat so the water wouldn’t disperse when it rained. And the took him and 4 of his so called experienced workers a week trying to remove it . Then he watched how to fit Rubber on YouTube in our kitchen.when we questioned his lack of experience and knowledge and sent us an email saying he was losing money on our job and had decided to file for liquidation. We since had the whole of Graeme Giles of Ringwood Building Services ltd work inspected . Now the roof has had to be totally stripped back to the rafters because everything was applied incorrectly and the rubber roof Graeme Giles applied which looked like bubble wrap came off as If it never had glue on it.. Then list just goes on and on.He also left acroe support stands under the sagging roof he had incorrectly built due to not being able to read plans correctly which my wife tripped over and fell face down onto a concrete step breaking her jaw ending up in Southampton General Hospital.I’ve since found out he is being sued by a previous customer for tens of thousands after Graeme Giles was thrown of the site. SO BE WARNED HES STILL OUT THERE NO DOUBT READY START ANOTHER COMPANY!!!!!
Grumpy - 13-Feb-21 @ 8:28 PM
AVOID AVOID AVOID NEVER HAVE GRAEME NIGEL GILES AND MARIANNE LOUSE GILES OF RINGWOOD BUILDING SERVICES LTD FORMALLY OF BICKERLEY PROPERTY SERVICES LTD. they will take you for thousands and thousands of pounds large sums of it in cash not put through the company of your hard earned money and then put their company into liquidation. They’ve done this multiple times and have gotten away with it . As they have just done this to us leaving our home half finished. What work he has done with his so called experienced staff is no other than disgraceful. Graeme Giles is no other than totally incompetent and has has no useful knowledge of the building construction industry.for example he built a large rear warm deck dorma roof on our house and because he constructed it wrong from the start the end product was like corrugated wood. So what does he do , he applied interior self levelling floor concrete toit to solve the corrugated effect leaving it flat so the water wouldn’t disperse when it rained. And the took him and 4 of his so called experienced workers a week trying to remove it . Then he watched how to fit Rubber on YouTube in our kitchen.when we questioned his lack of experience and knowledge and sent us an email saying he was losing money on our job and had decided to file for liquidation. We since had the whole of Graeme Giles of Ringwood Building Services ltd work inspected . Now the roof has had to be totally stripped back to the rafters because everything was applied incorrectly and the rubber roof Graeme Giles applied which looked like bubble wrap came off as If it never had glue on it.. Then list just goes on and on.He also left acroe support stands under the sagging roof he had incorrectly built due to not being able to read plans correctly which my wife tripped over and fell face down onto a concrete step breaking her jaw ending up in Southampton General Hospital.I’ve since found out he is being sued by a previous customer for tens of thousands after Graeme Giles was thrown of the site. SO BE WARNED HES STILL OUT THERE NO DOUBT READY START ANOTHER COMPANY!!!!!
Grumpy - 12-Feb-21 @ 9:49 PM
AVOID AVOID AVOID NEVER HAVE GRAEME NIGEL GILES AND MARIANNE LOUSE GILES OF RINGWOOD BUILDING SERVICES LTD FORMALLY OF BICKERLEY PROPERTY SERVICES LTD. they will take you for thousands and thousands of pounds large sums of it in cash not put through the company of your hard earned money and then put their company into liquidation. They’ve done this multiple times and have gotten away with it . As they have just done this to us leaving our home half finished. What work he has done with his so called experienced staff is no other than disgraceful. Graeme Giles is no other than totally incompetent and has has no useful knowledge of the building construction industry.for example he built a large rear warm deck dorma roof on our house and because he constructed it wrong from the start the end product was like corrugated wood. So what does he do , he applied interior self levelling floor concrete toit to solve the corrugated effect leaving it flat so the water wouldn’t disperse when it rained. And the took him and 4 of his so called experienced workers a week trying to remove it . Then he watched how to fit Rubber on YouTube in our kitchen.when we questioned his lack of experience and knowledge and sent us an email saying he was losing money on our job and had decided to file for liquidation. We since had the whole of Graeme Giles of Ringwood Building Services ltd work inspected . Now the roof has had to be totally stripped back to the rafters because everything was applied incorrectly and the rubber roof Graeme Giles applied which looked like bubble wrap came off as If it never had glue on it.. Then list just goes on and on.He also left acroe support stands under the sagging roof he had incorrectly built due to not being able to read plans correctly which my wife tripped over and fell face down onto a concrete step breaking her jaw ending up in Southampton General Hospital.I’ve since found out he is being sued by a previous customer for tens of thousands after Graeme Giles was thrown of the site. SO BE WARNED HES STILL OUT THERE NO DOUBT READY START ANOTHER COMPANY!!!!!
Grumpy - 12-Feb-21 @ 9:15 PM
Avoid Will Begg Carpentry Servies. Agree with John Does review. Poor standard of finish, too many jobs at anyone time ans never actually finishes projects properly. Poor worktop fitting and poor floor installation(didt level the sub floor sufficiently). Took our money and didn't provide us with a final building regs certificate despite saying sign off had been done. He is not a builder. A chippy maybe and abad project manager.Avoid.
Jennywren - 29-Jan-21 @ 4:26 PM
Stefan from Gumtree. A so called plasterer. He skimmed my living room ceiling without prepping it and after a week it cracked and parts of it came off. He came had look but offered plasterboard instead at more costs. Never hire anyone from gumtree for home improvement or building work.
Junaki - 13-Jan-21 @ 2:13 AM
Any recommended solicitors to launche a case against rogue builder that did not complete the job? The bit he did was unsatisfactory.
Alif - 8-Jan-21 @ 6:14 PM
Anyone out there with a park home...do not use smart park homes .skelmersdale...as they are cowboys...they are ripping elderly people off and getting away with it....
Dee - 4-Jan-21 @ 2:51 PM
Nistor Stefan Beniamin or Ben Nistor of 53 Southend Road is a cowboy builder who has left my property in a very bad state with unfinished works, faulty leaky pitched roofs among various other shoddy work, he promises but does not turn up to fix the issues after having taken majority of the agreed monies. Very poor workmanship, unprofessional, unreliable. I hear from his friends who work for him that this is not the first time that he has left a customer in such distress. He is a Fraud, I decided to use his services after being highly recommended by a local contact.
Shiva - 26-Dec-20 @ 11:49 PM
Joiner Jefffrom Nottingham cash for kitchen fitting. He done a cowboy job does not seem to know what size screws should be used orif a wall plug should be used, looking at his dodgy work. It seems this joiner thinks cabinets support each other no need to attach to a wall.Anything for cash, no receipt, no address, no business telephone number, probably not paying VATeither
Noa - 20-Dec-20 @ 6:16 PM
Never use Kevin dorky of All trades Rotherham refused to complete the works as he ask for more money due to COVID-19 saying he’s had to pay for for labour and materials as prices went up
Marg - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:22 PM
Never use coldstart windows Dudley total con man I paid him money up front for materials brought the wrong materials blame me was very rude and aggressive iv learnt a harsh lesson
Jeanie - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:18 PM
Please don’t go near Marshall building services castle donnington started to do me a garage conversion told me 4-6 weeks to complete A year later he’s still not completed and asking for more money to complete it !!
Macca - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:15 PM
Never use impact Builders Bradford took my money and made a right mess Jonny Birstill is his name stay away from him !!!
Jane - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:10 PM
Never use concept builders Nottingham took deposit of £9000 started my roof conversion and left without any contact John Mellon his name is rogue
Micky - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:07 PM
Don’t use Gary jones joinery beeston made a right mess of my property and wouldn’t rectify his mess had someone else in to finish ask for a refund just got verbose abuse
Nana - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:04 PM
Never use Martin Taylor of Taylor builders and sons paid £5000 up front and never seen him again false phone numbers
Jono - 18-Dec-20 @ 1:01 PM
Who ever runs this site you need the otherside of the story it’s wrong that any tradesman get slandering on this website without any evidence from the other party and it’s not right that there’s no contact number or emai to get in touch to find out who and why these remarks have been made do not listen or take note of this website and remarks can be made by anyone!!!!
Braders - 15-Dec-20 @ 10:00 PM
The messages on this site iOS misleading and one sided you can’t go on here as a tradesman that’s in a stalemate with a customer find out who and why comments are made nobody listen to this site
Smithy - 15-Dec-20 @ 6:36 PM
Iv used affordable building in Tollerton ,Nottingham and Darren and his team did a brilliant job. Never had a problem . Great service.
Shelia - 15-Dec-20 @ 4:28 PM
Never use Darren Hallcro from Tollerton. He trades under Affordable Building Services Tollerton. He is taking money upfront and never finishes his jobs. He was reported to Trading Standards.
Trust - 10-Dec-20 @ 8:55 PM
No not hire Ivory Property Services from Kent. They charged me £1300 to fix a roof leak and did more damage which cost me £2200 to put right. After the first repair I called them back for the same leak. They quoted £7000 to seal the roof and when told it was too high reduced to £3000. We still said no so they said for another £600 they could stop the leak which I had paid to be done. They have refused any compensation.
Sparky - 3-Dec-20 @ 4:45 PM
Never ever let your insurance company use REEVE PROPERTY RESTORATION - NORWICH they are supposed to restore your property as to how it was, before a water leak.I have photographs they have put cement board in and raised a part of the floor, and lowered laminate floor. I have photos and they then tell me the floating floor will not make it level. It was level before they started work. They are liars. They don’t care about a family member not be stable on feet. Reeves are bullies and insurance company stick with them. Let’s see what an independent person does.
Sal - 28-Nov-20 @ 7:50 AM
Never use Will Begg carpentry Evesham very poor after-care basically non-existent rushes jobs because taken on to much work doing stuff which is not there area of craft promises to come back to rectify mistakes but never turns up very quick to get the cash
John Doe - 27-Nov-20 @ 6:31 PM
Dominic Rowley - Clough Hall Stoke on Trent. Bodge Artist - Lead Fitter Do not trust unless you want to pay TWICE to rectify any work Dominic has carried out. Use another company that has a proven track record.
Kath Hayes - 20-Nov-20 @ 2:40 PM
NEVER EVER hire “M.Ducannon builders” on “mybuilder”. It is a one man business run by “Michal”. This guy is a crook trader and highly deceptive. He will trick you to paying cash and ended up not completing your job. He changes his words everytime! He never pays tax, he is a tax dodger and a completely disreputable tradesman. He has no company van, no company address, and he is not registered with tax office.
Eb - 17-Nov-20 @ 5:07 AM
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