Home > Tradespeople > Dealing With Cowboy Builders

Dealing With Cowboy Builders

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 23 Dec 2017 | 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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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
SeaDoubleYou - Your Question:
We are having an extension built, our builder gave us a fixed price quote of £35k based on an estimated programme of 8 weeks. The project began reasonably well, although from the outset it was running behind schedule (There has never been a published programme or plan, however when we asked the builder at the beginning of the week what was planned for the week, he would tell us the planned work which by the end of the week was rarely all completed). We went on holiday for two weeks and when we returned found that the builder had knocked through into our existing kitchen, despite the fact that the new build wasn't weatherproof - i.e. no roof and no windows and doors.The exterior brickwork is completely unacceptable on one wall, as the wall is wavy and does not align with the existing housebrickwork. At about the 5ft level the brickwork goes from being aligned with the house brickwork to being half a brick out within four courses. We notified our builder that this is not acceptable and he re-worked this wall. to exactly the same unacceptable standard.We have now commenced week 17 and we are still missing a window and the bi-fold doors. We have repeatidly chased the builder in all aspects of the outstanding work (internally - fitting of windows and doors, 2nd fix plumbing and electrics, levelling of the floor, window sills and coving) and have also highlighted that in addition to the brickwork that needs rectifying, the other walls need re-pointing, the drain cover needs making level with the existing ground in addition to the finishing off of the groundwork.Our concern is that the builder has told us he is skint (which may be why he hasn't yet collected the window and doors) or paid for the other trades required, yet we are desperate to complete as we have a new kitchen in storage ready to be fitted.We do not want to pay any additional money as we have already outlayed £33k on the understanding that the windows and doors would have been fitted. The builder is now not answering any of our calls but sent a text at 02:00am stating that he is now working on another project.Where do we go with this?

Our Response:
Sorry there's not much you can do here apart from taking the builder to court to recover some of the money and the cost of paying a decent builder to rectify the damage. It's not much help to you at this stage... but lessons to learn are, to ask for a staged work and payment plan upfront (and only hand over the money if you're absolutely satisfied) and to make sure you see examples of other jobs the builder has completed before commissioning them.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:09 AM
We are having an extension built, our builder gave us a fixed price quote of £35k based on an estimated programme of 8 weeks. The project began reasonably well, although from the outset it was running behind schedule (There has never been a published programme or plan, however when we asked the builder at the beginning of the week what was planned for the week, he would tell us the planned work which by the end of the week was rarely all completed). We went on holiday for two weeks and when we returned found that the builder had knocked through into our existing kitchen, despite the fact that the new build wasn't weatherproof - i.e. no roof and no windows and doors. The exterior brickwork is completely unacceptable on one wall, as the wall is wavy and does not align with the existing housebrickwork. At about the 5ft level the brickwork goes from being aligned with the house brickwork to being half a brick out within four courses. We notified our builder that this is not acceptable and he re-worked this wall.... to exactly the same unacceptable standard. We have now commenced week 17 and we are still missing a window and the bi-fold doors. We have repeatidly chased the builder in all aspects of the outstanding work (internally - fitting of windows and doors, 2nd fix plumbing and electrics, levelling of the floor, window sills and coving) and have also highlighted that in addition to the brickwork that needs rectifying, the other walls need re-pointing, the drain cover needs making level with the existing ground in addition to the finishing off of the groundwork. Our concern is that the builder has told us he is skint (which may be why he hasn't yet collected the window and doors) or paid for the other trades required, yet we are desperate to complete as we have a new kitchen in storage ready to be fitted. We do not want to pay any additional money as we have already outlayed £33k on the understanding that the windows and doors would have been fitted. The builder is now not answering any of our calls but sent a text at 02:00am stating that he is now working on another project. Where do we go with this?
SeaDoubleYou - 16-Oct-17 @ 9:01 AM
We needed a new shower as the old one was very shabby. Mt wife chose a shower and called plumber. She had intended to buy it and pay for it to be installed. The plumber told her that the chosen shower would not hide the pipework and recommended another one. He said that he did not need to replace the shower tray as he could 'clean the old one up and make it look like new!' He said that he would buy and install a new cubicle. We also wanted a basin tap replaced. The same plumber advised us to havenew basin ( a vanity unit). He said that her would send a quote through and he could complete the work the following week. We had to ask for the quote and he could not carry out the work as arranged. Despite this we agreed for him to carry out the work. the end result was that he left the pipes showing. We complained and he came back and fitted an ugly and scruffy PVC box. We had not tried the shower at that point but we noticed that the shower cubicle the plumber had installed did not fit the tray properly. The shower squirted water from lots of jets when it was turned on which shot out of the door of the cubicle. However, when we stood under the shower there was no water as the jet stream tricked down the side of the cubicle which meant you had to stand flush against the side of the shower to get the water. We contacted the plumber but he was away working. We asked another plumbing company for advice who said that the shower style was too big for the cubicle. They agreed that it was a 'bodged job'. the plumber's daughter called a week later and asked if her father could visit the following day ( a Saturday). This was inconvenient. She was harassing on the 'phone and kept telling us not to 'prolong' it as they wanted their money. We want a decent shower and this should have been the situation by now. We do not trust this man to do any further work. The other plumbers have said that they can rectify the work by installing a new and bigger shower cubicle and tray but not for four weeks. We are quite distressed by these events.
marty - 7-Oct-17 @ 9:47 AM
Bought a garage door from a company last November after about 3 weeks it fell apart took them 2 weeks to come out only to say they needed to order 6 new slats which took another 8 days to appear the guys who fitted the door did the repair. Now the same thing has happened on the 1/9/17 still under warranty but the warranty company want £65 upfront by bank transfer before they will make an appointment this was done on the same day but it took another 5 phone calls to get an appointment 18/9/17 between 12:00 & 16:00 but at 9:25 I had a call to say they would not be able to attend as the van had broken down so am still waiting the company concerned is P Kelly warranties ltd both these companies have been on BBC rouge traders program but are still ripping people off
Trev - 19-Sep-17 @ 7:30 PM
Z4Owner - Your Question:
Hi we had a roofer who agreed to replace our dormer roof the following week he brought his ladders and some equipment and left it at our house but 4 weeks Later and several phone calls he still hadn't started the work he kept giving us dates and despite good weather didn't turn up. We finally told him to forget it and we would get another company to do it and for him to collect his ladders and equipment. This was over 5 weeks ago and even after ringing him and stating we would put his stuff on the road he hasnt collected it. What can we do?

Our Response:
Can you find out where he lives? Are you able to take the equipment there and leave it? Send a letter to his address (in case something has happened to him/his phone) - advising that you will sell/dispose of the equipment if he doesn't collect everything within two weeeks (name a specific deadline date).
ConsumerRightsExpert - 19-Sep-17 @ 1:49 PM
Mickey - Your Question:
Last year I needed a new patio dug out and laid on a labour only basis. I obtained 3 quotes but used a contractor who was recommended me to as he was able to start sooner and was a little cheaper than the other quotes obtained. The price quoted by this cowboy builder was £10,800 but due to extra work increased to £13,300 which I agreed to To cut a long story short:- We paid Him £8866 up front via 2 payment at his request and insistence on the understanding he had to have the funds in advance to pay the workmen the next day, they then failed to turn up and he failed to finish the job.Basically he failed to even lay any patio slabs and the payment for 12 short days with one to two men with him was for a dig out, labour only as we paid for all the machinery. We are now going to court with him and I'm at acting as a litigant in person. Please can you help me with some similar case law in order to prepare my skeleton arguement this week prior to the hearing next week.

Our Response:
We don't have any specific case studies but maybe our readers will post here if they've been successful in similar cases.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 19-Sep-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hi we had a roofer who agreed to replace our dormer roof the following week he brought his ladders and some equipment and left it at our house but 4 weeks Later and several phone calls he still hadn't started the work he kept giving us dates and despite good weather didn't turn up. We finally told him to forget it and we would get another company to do it and for him to collect his ladders and equipment. This was over 5 weeks ago and even after ringing him and stating we would put his stuff on the road he hasnt collected it. What can we do?
Z4Owner - 18-Sep-17 @ 10:09 AM
Last year I needed a new patio dug out and laid on a labour only basis. I obtained 3 quotes but used a contractor who was recommended me to as he was able to start sooner and was a little cheaper than the other quotes obtained. The price quoted by this cowboy builder was £10,800 but due to extra work increased to £13,300 which I agreed to To cut a long story short:- We paid Him £8866 up front via 2 payment at his request and insistence on the understanding he had to have the funds in advance to pay the workmen the next day, they then failed to turn up and he failed to finish the job.Basically he failed to even lay any patio slabs and the payment for 12 short days with one to two men with him was for a dig out, labour only as we paid for all the machinery. We are now going to court with him and I'm at acting as a litigant in person. Please can you help me with some similar case law in order to prepare my skeleton arguement this week prior to the hearing next week.
Mickey - 18-Sep-17 @ 9:33 AM
I gave a builder nearly £2000 (receipt obtained) to buy materials prior to starting work, and he never came back. I have since discovered that he took money from other people, and didn't provide them with work or goods either. I reported him to the police for fraud, but the Crown Prosecution say this is a civil matter, and I can't get my money back. I have a CCJ against him, as do some of his other victims, but the cost of chasing my money would exceed the original amount, and I can't add that cost, or any other expenses to the original amount taken. I can't afford a solicitor, so wonder if you have any suggestions.
sierra - 10-Sep-17 @ 3:18 AM
Sweet pea - Your Question:
Bad builder we sacked now taking to court. How can we find out if others have had bad work done by him please? Was told rogue traders were on to him but ex wife bottled it!

Our Response:
There's no easy way to find this out. Forums, social media, tradespeople's websites are good places to start. You should be able to find out whether anyone else has taken legal action against the same builder by searching local court cases etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:14 AM
Lanton - Your Question:
Hi, my girlfriend and I decided to have some work done on the front of our house. We decided to go with a local guy who worked independently. He quoted us £2000 for the job, half upfront and half on completion. He said the work would start at the end of July and would take 2 weeks to complete. He came around one day for around 2 hours but that is all. I have phoned him numerous times and he has given excuse after excuse. What should I do? After we paid him the half upfront, this man has openly told me he has other jobs on the go at the same time, all of which are cash in hand jobs.

Our Response:
If the work is taking unacceptably long time to complete, you should speak to the builder first. If at the time of agreeing the contract, the builder estimated two weeks for completion then he's possibly in breach of contract. You've allowed an extra two weeks or so, so you've been reasonable already. Tell the builder you're willing to let him continue on the proviso that the work starts immediately and is completed within two weeks (bear in mind, rain may be a feature in delaying part of the work). If he cannot agree to this tell him you want the money you've already paid refunded (apart from the 2 hours work he did). If he refuses to refund you, take it to the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 5-Sep-17 @ 10:18 AM
Bad builder we sacked now taking to court. How can we find out if others have had bad work done by him please?Was told roguetraders were on to him but ex wife bottled it!
Sweet pea - 2-Sep-17 @ 6:45 PM
Hi, my girlfriend and I decided to have some work done on the front of our house. We decided to go with a local guy who worked independently. He quoted us £2000 for the job, half upfront and half on completion. He said the work would start at the end of July and would take 2 weeks to complete. He came around one day for around 2 hours but that is all. I have phoned him numerous times and he has given excuse after excuse. What should I do? After we paid him the half upfront, this man has openly told me he has other jobs on the go at the same time, all of which are cash in hand jobs.
Lanton - 2-Sep-17 @ 9:17 AM
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 - 28-Aug-17 @ 8:07 PM
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