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Dealing With Cowboy Builders

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 13 Jul 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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Hi we have had a extension to our wooden boxing club and in a nut shell, we're told by our builder that the donated materials had dry rot and he would have to put up a new timber building. After many problems with this builder and paying out 17500 so far we have found out the material we fit for purpose and there is no dry rot and feeling like we have been conned. The job is still not finished and he is refusing us access to what is there. He put up this build with no drawings or calculation and is refusing to follow our planning permission document. Any advice or help greatly appreciated.
DGB - 13-Jul-17 @ 11:18 AM
Rida - Your Question:
My builder took £400 cash from me to buy equipment but now he hasnt came since and is not answering his phone. Could you give any advice on how to get a refund back?

Our Response:
Send a letter to his address and advise that if work doesn't commence this week, you'll be taking legal action to recover your money. If there's still no response try and recover it from the small claims court
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Jul-17 @ 12:33 PM
My builder took £400 cash from me to buy equipment but now he hasnt came since and is not answering his phone. Could you give any advice on how to get a refund back?
Rida - 3-Jul-17 @ 5:21 PM
Tayl - Your Question:
I was due to have a downstairs cloakroom fitted following a very competitive & detailed quote. The builder/plumber advised he could start work on 10/5/17 & I provided him with a £1337.00 deposit as requested prior to this start date. I contacted him the day before to verify everything was okay only to be advised he had a family situation to deal with & this had caused a delay on his starting. He provided a revised date of 15/5/17. Prior to this I emailed him to request a confirmation time, & verification that he would be undertaking the work as advised on 15/5/17. I advised if he was unable to commit to this rescheduled date I would like a refund of my deposit. Regrettably I did not receive any response. I then left two voice mail messages, the last message I stated if he was unable to undertake the work on the date specified I would like to cancel & receive a full refund. The following day I received an email stating I was being unreasonable in cancelling with only a short delay due to his family/personal circumstances. This was despite the fact he confirmed he would not be able to undertake the work as planned on 15/5/17. He advised I lacked empathy to his situation & I was cancelling as I had accessed a cheaper quote. He informed me due to this he would consider over the weekend how much of my deposit he was going to keep for the inconvenience. He did not however get back to me and has still retained my full deposit. I took advice from citizens advice, & a solicitor. I was informed he was in breach of contract by not undertaking the work on the specified date. He also had not provided a contract, as such I was entitled to cancel this work. I was informed I needed to send him letters providing him with notice of my intention to progress this to court if he did not return my deposit. Despite sending these letters recorded delivery they have been returned! However, he has communicated a couple of times with me via email. This was following me leaving him negative feedback on the website where I located him. He now states due to this he is keeping the full deposit, which he had already done so anyway. I have now pursued him via money claim online through the court, he had 14 days to respond, but he has failed to refund or respond. I am now assuming I have to go to court assuming he will attend. It is a nightmare situation.

Our Response:
You have done everything correctly. We hope that you manage to get this resolve via the court process. Do let us know how you get on and we hope you manage to find a reliable builder/plumber to do the work efficiently and prompty.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Jul-17 @ 12:43 PM
I was due to have a downstairs cloakroom fitted following a very competitive & detailed quote. The builder/plumber advised he could start work on 10/5/17 & I provided him with a £1337.00 deposit as requested prior to this start date. I contacted him the day before to verify everything was okay only to be advised he had a family situation to deal with & this had caused a delay on his starting. He provided a revised date of 15/5/17. Prior to this I emailed him to request a confirmation time, & verification that he would be undertaking the work as advised on 15/5/17. I advised if he was unable to commit to this rescheduled date I would like a refund of my deposit. Regrettably I did not receive any response. I then left two voice mail messages, the last message I stated if he was unable to undertake the work on the date specified I would like to cancel & receive a full refund. The following day I received an email stating I was being unreasonable in cancelling with only a short delay due to his family/personal circumstances. This was despite the fact he confirmed he would not be able to undertake the work as planned on 15/5/17. He advised I lacked empathy to his situation & I was cancelling as I had accessed a cheaper quote. He informed me due to this he would consider over the weekend how much of my deposit he was going to keep for the inconvenience. He did not however get back to me and has still retained my full deposit. I took advice from citizens advice, & a solicitor. I was informed he was in breach of contract by not undertaking the work on the specified date. He also had not provided a contract, as such I was entitled to cancel this work. I was informed I needed to send him letters providing him with notice of my intention to progress this to court if he did not return my deposit. Despite sending these letters recorded delivery they have been returned! However, he has communicated a couple of times with me via email. This was following me leaving him negative feedback on the website where I located him. He now states due to this he is keeping the full deposit, which he had already done so anyway. I have now pursued him via money claim online through the court, he had 14 days to respond, but he has failed to refund or respond. I am now assuming I have to go to court assuming he will attend. It is a nightmare situation.
Tayl - 1-Jul-17 @ 10:56 PM
Had our driveway concreted in four sections, one section furthest from the road started to crumble after 15mths. The builder agreed to re do the crumbly section. We agreed that no skips or heavy vehicles to go on or over our drive. On arriving home the section closest to the footpath/road had been damaged by something clearly very heavy - a 3' by 1.5' section had cracked off the corner and the curb stone was damaged all the way across. The builder is only offering to "pop some resin in the crack and you wont see it" my partner needs to drive a truck over this area everyday and as the integrity has been compromised I'm not happy this is a suitable solution, I also doubt it wont be visible? Where do we stand?
Stella - 21-Jun-17 @ 12:50 PM
I have attempted to make this story as concise as possible. I asked a decorator - someone I have known for 20 years, and have used previously on several occasions - to repaint my entire house, inside and out. The quote/estimate was £4850 (£4600 + £250 for scaffolding). There was no breakdown of cost.The house, a small 3-bed detached, half-rendered building has UPVC window frames, doors, fascias or soffits, a conservatory which reduces the painting area of the back wall of the house, it has a porch and garage door. As I know the man and trusted him, I accepted the quote - it seemed reasonable for all the work it entailed. This was March 2016. After several attempts to get him to begin the work, he eventually started, without notice on 31 August 2016 - worked for 3 days and then did another half day/day at the end of September, on the back of the house, but had still not painted the garage door. The scaffolders, contracted by him, damaged the conservatory roof by walking over the panels. They, and the decorator have denied this, though I witnessed it; the conservatory now leaks. As he hadn't started the interior at all, and it was nearly 12 months after first accepting the quote, I asked for the invoice for the work so far, upon completion of the garage door. This was painted in January, but it was the wrong colour; he reluctantly returned to repaint it correctly. He also had to return to repair peeling paint, and was obviously not happy so emptied his paint kettle on my garden and dumped the pot on the plants. This work was completed on 18 March 2017. The invoice he sent was for £2750 - a huge proportion of the total amount. Having suggested he may have made a mistake, he had the opportunity to change his invoice, but just informed me that I was paying for his level of preparation and I wouldn't get anyone to as good a job as him. I have asked him to justify his exorbitant costs (I knew how much the work had been in the past and what others had quoted - 2 quotes under £1000 and one for £1500 had the house been in bad condition, which it wasn't.)He resent the invoice, now £2,700, which I paid because of his intimidating manner. Having charged this excessive amount, he has therefore allowed only £2100 for 10 rooms, hall, stairs and landing. (Other quotes I obtained estimated over £3000 for the interior.) He promised to paint the interior for the amount agreed, but when asked in April 2017 to start painting the interior, he refused citing 'unreconcilable [sic] differences', and suggested I used one of my other 'sources'. The only differences I see is, I wanted my house painting and he has refused to do it, but has chronically overcharged. Throughout this time there have been numerous texts and emails asking him to justify his costs, which he continues to ignore.I have been to CAB, talked to solicitors but seem unable to get any further. This man lives in the same village and I feel very uncomfortable but cannot let this go. I have heard ot
MM - 11-Jun-17 @ 5:55 PM
I employed a builder in october 16 we agreed prices and payment schedule.The job was quoted 4-6weeks.8 week in job was still on going. In January the builder returned did a days work left then another days work.We got him back as found new window frame to be broken.Also and existing window had been damaged.He agreed to replace window and finish snagging within 4 weeks.We held back.10% of total build cost.We still have tools and left over materials on site.We have not heard from him since january.Obviously its a difficult situation. We are happy to keep the money and do a days work finishing the job.After all. I had to advise them they had fitted window wrongly causing frame to become damaged. Over all the whole job was a bit boarder line on quality. To be honest.Is there a time scale where we can assume builder is not coming back and do works ourselves and dispose off his tools (they been laying in garden for 2 months now.Its over 5 months since he agreed to come back.
Robert41 - 29-May-17 @ 11:39 PM
You say trading standards take a dim view of rogure builders - NOT True. They are totally disinterested. Yiu say the police are available in the event of fraud - NOT True. Fraud, in the opinion the the police, is a civil matter. If caught by a cowboy you are on your own. Only avenue is wasting time and money on legal action to prove a point - builder will just go bankrupt and start trading again under a different name the following day. Welcoe to UK consumer protection - there is NONE
Big shim - 24-May-17 @ 7:47 AM
TheCavalry - Your Question:
Why have some of the comments been removed

Our Response:
Because of the inflammatory comments posted here recently, we have removed all posts which name specific builders (cowboys or not :-) )
If you have a valid question we'll endeavour to answer it and of course please continue to share your experiences for others to read.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 23-Mar-17 @ 11:20 AM
Why have some of the comments been removed
TheCavalry - 23-Mar-17 @ 10:59 AM
Good tradesmen rely on the quality of their work - the work speaks for itself. They get repeat business from previous clients and recommendations by other clients.A bad Internet review will not break their business as they have many happy customers who can vouch for them. Cowboys are a different story.... Existing regulations protect the cowboy builder. When customers who have been ripped off name these cowboy builders, to warn other people, they are taking a risk of possible repercussions and threats. So I very much doubt that posts on here are made up.
Good tradesman - 21-Mar-17 @ 9:17 AM
A builder carried out some work at my home address and ordered some gravel which was delivered to my address and I signed for it. I have paid the money directly to the builder via my bank account in a number of small instalments those instalments included all of the costs of the materials and labour. The builder that did not complete the work and we had to get a new builder in to complete the work. I have now had an invoice from a company and I cook a company asking for payment in the region of £576 for the gravel that I signed for. I told them that I did not place the order with them.Thr builder placed the order with them. I therefore had no contract with them and they should pursue it with the builder who is on the invoice as the customer. I have now received another letter from the company stating that they will submit a claim and take me to court if I don't pay an amount you now have 794.76.They will also charge 16p interest today until paid can you give me advice as I am not the customer but they are taking me to court
Sue - 25-Jan-17 @ 7:44 PM
I had a contract with a builder in slough to do a 6meter extension, he promised to visit the site 1-2 times a week but showed up approx 4 times in 6 months. His subcontractors, ruined my new kitchen and damaged my wood flooring and did a shabby work on the extension. We still have cracks and it needs completing to comply with regs even. Our drive and shared drive and bathroom ceiling and elecs are damaged due to his workers carelessness. The worst in my opinion is that he has left us with blocked draings with builders rubble, a gas leak since 9/10/16 and no heating for months. He has made no effort to fix this although we have 2 kids and temp has dropped to minus 2, my child was sick and we had to take him hospital last week, builder was told about this but he hasnt done anything. He lives in slough (sl1 3j) and is on rated people site too which is worrying. 6 months on his subcontractors have left the site in a mess as it is because the contractor hasnt paid them. We still have no heating for our kids!!!!
marina - 10-Nov-16 @ 5:32 AM
Moral of the story is you should NEVER get in a builder unless you or family or close friends have used them. Glossy websites, FMB/other accreditations, testimonials online etc, mean nothing. We've lost a lot of money on a terrible building project, not certified, not finished, bloody crooks. Disgusting.
KAS - 11-Oct-16 @ 3:43 PM
We used a company for an extension project. It's taken nearly five months and we still have no windows in. The guys who own the company sub out everything to people they've never worked with before. Sending us invoices for fictitious "additional works". Delays and extremely poor workmanship. Some jobs needing to be done up to three times (plastering/ rendering/ floor and sealant and grout issues). I'm at my wits end. The only payment I held back was due on completion and as yet there is still up to £15-£20,000 of work to complete and I've had to terminate their contract as thy just want more money. And not doing the job. Any advice as to what I can do please?
KAS - 23-Sep-16 @ 6:29 AM
I had flagging done in the past but company but but part of the work was delayed due to a boundary dispute which was resolved in May. The company asked for payment in advance to get materials etc to complete the work. As I had no problem with the original work I paid it (stupid I know). Since then I have been trying to get them to complete the work. I have had every excuse under the sun for the constant delays. Each time I complain they send someone over but they only do a few hours work then disappear until I have to complain again. He leaves skips on my drive for a week at a time, claiming that the skip company are busy. Ridiculous excuse. I am disabled so he knows that I need my drive to be done quickly but he doesn't seem to care. I am feeling really stressed about this now. Does anyone know what my rights are? He's not even had the materials delivered
moogie - 21-Sep-16 @ 11:43 AM
Remember: Builders need EXPLICIT instructions.Left to their own devices they will do it cheaply and you will get what they think is acceptable.Not necessarily what you feel is acceptable.They will do things that are easiest for them and place things where it is easiest not where you want them. Believe when I say:They will not do it as they would do their own home or building work.They will do it with one thing in mind, how can I do least work for most money! If you have a conflict with a builder, keep records, keep receipts, keep the written quotation, keep records of all phone calls, make a clear concise written list of all items you are not happy with. Tell them in writing you are not paying anymore until you are completely happy. Be assertive.
Jude - 16-Sep-16 @ 1:11 PM
Have you ever seen a bad review on checka trade or other tradesman sites, NO, SO DON'T GIVE THEM ANY CREDIT. My builder was recommended from my surveyor who I totally trusted, however now, I dont trust anyone. I have had a garage conversion, some of the work good some dire.A shower trap was used where a wet room trap should have been used, minor except half the exit pipe was covered by the trap. Concrete poured in too quick and too much so garage floor levels were shockingly uneven and due to height being level with adjoining room, no screed was used, so rough concrete was my "finished" floor. The concrete had to be dug up for gas pipes, and then covered. But thegas pipe tothe cooker was forced down on the elbow joint, with two by two wood batten, to ensure it was under the patch of screed used. As prior to this it had run along the garage floor. The electrician put a normal light in my bathroom, (to test it) - they left holes in the outside walls, hanging venting material hanging outside the wall, waving around in the wind.Wrecked the coving to the lounge when knocking through to make double door entrance, and it goes on and on. But its my fault cos I kept changing my mind, so yes we started off with a cloak room and ended up with a wet room, I paid separately for the tiler and agreed to pay separately for gas fitter to move boiler, agreed with builder this was okay, he had time to do this etc etc. A dangerous gas leak from the main gas pipe feeding the combi-boiler after the boiler was moved. Stupid things like unlevel sockets, stupid place for thermostat, Builders should realise, 1. Renovation and building is an evolving journey, as it comes together customers can see the differences in their home, things may need to be altered or tweaked. 2. They are the SUPPOSED EXPERT, (one could question this) so we the client need to be guided by them, if we want to make changes, is this the best option for us as the client, is this the best option for the integrity of the building.My advice is treat your builder like a complete nincompoop!Do not assume anything.Draw and mark where you want things, tell him what quality of fittings you want or you will get the very cheapest. Or buy your own taps, your own fittings and sockets ect.Do you research and become a builder, know your subject, ask around. 3. They should not ask for anymore than material costs until the building is COMPLETELY FINISHED, and to ask for labour costs should be BANNED as BAD practice! 4. The council if being used for building regs, should be far more supportive.That is what they are there for, or GO TO A SURVEYOR. Or company that will support you.You do not need to use the council.They also charge more. 5. Have a completion date. Put in clauses and penalties for late starts, late finishes, poor workmanship. 6. Insist your job is the only job he does.That trainees are supervised by trained persons. 7. Ask yourself is it worth the stress
Jude - 16-Sep-16 @ 12:53 PM
My builder finished the extension work to the best of their ability, and lot of small works which they were supposed to do, were not completed when we entered the house, but we were told they will do them in the next few weeks. They took the money but did not come back yet. We have sent them a notice last week but it looks they are not bothered. They start new company every time they get a new job , which has written contract. Most jobs they do has no written contracts.They are local people but they are very arrogant. They have not given the electrical certificate yet. We have not informed the police yet but we are planning to take them to court. The loss for us is inthousands, less than ten thousands.
PODDER - 15-Sep-16 @ 1:35 PM
Lpw - Your Question:
I was having a kitchen renovation, a couple of interior walls ( not load bearing) knocked out interior manhole moved, electrics, plumbing and underfloor heating and a big window replacing back door and smaller kitchen window. I thought I had done everything right I'd got 3 quotes there was £2500 difference I had 3 recommendations for the middle quote, the middle quote also turned out to be a good friend of a good friend of ours who also gave us a good recommendation! They all told me I didn't need to get building control as it wasn't going out or up and I stupidly believed them! So this boiler starts 2 weeks late as previous job runs over and he didn't ask for any money up front in fact they did 3 weeks before asking for any. I paid the 2 of them £3000 each by bank transfer. All ok. The following week they laid my £2500 worth of floor tiles and it was horrific! I never seen such a bad job. I made them take them up and clean them up, they broke about 10 tiles. The next evening a decorator came round he was horrified at the state of the walls and the "levelled" floor! A few tilers came round and wouldn't touch the floor as its so bad. Same with decorators etc. The builders then wanted to fit my new kitchen and Said for me to get the floor tiled after! I sent them home until I get the floor done. In the mean time I got other tilers, decorators round and no one will touch it. I have now got a different builder and he has pointed out that they fitted Windows badly with no lintels they have crushed bare electric cables behind plasterboard causing the wavy plastering, they didn't lag any pipes and didn't even bury them in the ground properly hence the uneven floor they screened over the interior manhole which I had completely forgotten about! In fact they have completely wrecked my home. I am still living in my bedroom at week 10 of my kitchen being a bomb site my living room is piled high with my new kitchen. I have sent the builder an email asking him to refund my £6000 so far he has ignored. But he is stil working locally. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
This looks like one for the small claims courts if your builder is refusing to refund anything.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 9-Sep-16 @ 2:16 PM
I was having a kitchen renovation, a couple of interior walls ( not load bearing) knocked out interior manhole moved, electrics, plumbing and underfloor heating and a big window replacing back door and smaller kitchen window. I thought I had done everything right I'd got 3 quotes there was £2500 difference I had 3 recommendations for the middle quote, the middle quote also turned out to be a good friend of a good friend of ours who also gave us a good recommendation!They all told me I didn't need to get building control as it wasn't going out or up and I stupidly believed them! So this boiler starts 2 weeks late as previous job runs over and he didn't ask for any money up front in fact they did 3 weeks before asking for any. I paid the 2 of them £3000 each by bank transfer. All ok. The following week they laid my £2500 worth of floor tiles and it was horrific! I never seen such a bad job. I made them take them up and clean them up, they broke about 10 tiles. The next evening a decorator came round he was horrified at the state of the walls and the "levelled" floor! A few tilers came round and wouldn't touchthe floor as its so bad. Same with decorators etc. The builders then wanted to fit my new kitchen and Said for me to get the floor tiled after! I sent them home until I get the floor done. In the mean time I got other tilers, decorators round and no one will touch it. I have now got a different builder and he has pointed out that they fitted Windows badly with no lintels they have crushed bare electric cables behind plasterboard causing the wavy plastering, they didn't lag any pipes and didn't even bury them in the ground properly hence the uneven floor they screened over the interior manhole which I had completely forgotten about! In fact they have completely wrecked my home. I am still living in my bedroom at week 10 of my kitchen being a bomb site my living room is piled high with my new kitchen. I have sent the builder an email asking him to refund my £6000 so far he has ignored. But he is stil working locally.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Lpw - 8-Sep-16 @ 9:32 PM
I recently used a builder on and off over a 2.5 year period. The quality of his work was high but he never liked to agree to fixed price projects. I soon realized why. His time management is very bad. He is unreliable so I often had to chase him up to be onsite to work at an agreed date. There were days when he would not call to say he would not be onsite as agreed and would not return my call for days or at all.He is quick to issue invoices but less quick to finish work and he will not fix any of his mistakes without being paid for his time and he has no gaurantee. And if another project comes along that he prefers, her will come up with any excuse not to complete a project that has been agreed.I could not recommend him and he knows this but the quality of his work is good if you can get him to work and he has nothing else to do.Stay clear if you have a timeline or if you don't have endless cash to fund his hobby approach to working.
ER - 6-Sep-16 @ 4:42 PM
Hired a firm of builders that had been recommended for a simple but high quality orangery - estimate of £50000. Build should have taken 12 weeks, starting in March & finished by July. Now September nearly, we have paid over £40000 yet have no glass, no plumbing, no electrics, flooring and external improvements incomplete. We have a contract in place, including a penalty clause due to the late completion. I'm more than happy to take legal advice & action but need pointing in the right direction please.
Iain - 31-Aug-16 @ 7:44 AM
Heartbroken- Your Question:
A nightmare of a 2 storey extension project. After £45,000 and almost 6 months no habitable house, no plumbing, no electrics, no bathroom nothing. Hired a small business buildings (AGM joinery and buildings contractors based in Bradford). Project started in February and was going well until it became evident there was a cash flow problem. Probably used my deposit to pay his workers for previous jobs and then they refused to come work on mine. Soon it became a one man job most weeks on end until I'd get wound up and he'll bring in additionall help. I started to pay for things undone in advance just to get my house back. Stuck in a catch22 situation.some of the subcontractors confirmed he didn't like to pay and payments were often delayed. The builder started another job giving him even less time for working on mine. He soon started blaming delays on "extra wiring" I'd requested and demanding payment and then refused to provide a working schedule or commit to a firm deadline. The original contract is all in breach. Only wished I had made payments with my credit card than debits onto their business account. The budget for the job is almost out and no house. Got them from my architects recommended list of builders. Go figure.turns out to be my greatest regrets. Hopefully I can recoup some money back even if it means taking him to court. Simply gutted and disheartened

Our Response:
Poor you, sadly it's not an uncommon predicament. There is hope in that they don't seem to be insolvent so you may have some success recouping some of your funds via the courts.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 23-Aug-16 @ 10:12 AM
A nightmare of a 2 storey extension project. After £45,000 and almost 6 months no habitable house, no plumbing, no electrics, no bathroom nothing. Hired a small business buildings (AGM joinery and buildings contractors based in Bradford). Project started in February and was going well until it became evident there was a cash flow problem. Probably used my deposit to pay his workers for previous jobs and then they refused to come work on mine. Soon it became a one man job most weeks on end until I'd get wound up and he'll bring in additionall help. I started to pay for things undone in advance just to get my house back. Stuck in a catch22 situation...some of the subcontractors confirmed he didn't like to pay and payments were often delayed. The builder started another job giving him even less time for working on mine. He soon started blaming delays on "extra wiring" I'd requested and demanding payment and then refused to provide a working schedule or commit to a firm deadline. The original contract is all in breach. Only wishedi had made payments with my credit card than debits onto their business account. The budget for the job is almost out and no house. Got them from my architects recommended list of builders. Go figure....turns out to be my greatest regrets. Hopefully I can recoup some money back even if it means taking him to court. Simply gutted and disheartened
Heartbroken - 20-Aug-16 @ 7:51 AM
just because someone's in a recognised trade body such as HETAS or trust mark does not mean they are any good they are all schemes that the trade pays into they are assessed maybee once a year on one job that could be his mums house. If any work is no good you will only be covered for the person who did it to come back and make it right and if hes no good then it will never be right. Dont just go off the word of someone you know because that person might not have a clue about things. Best thing is to read reviews on google and yell and spot the genuine reviews from the fake ones
disgruntled - 29-Jul-16 @ 9:27 AM
We engaged a builder in Feb 16 to carry out a loft conversion. He came with a quote, an FMB contract for us to sign and a lot of verbal promises. We paid for scaffolding and 15% deposit before any work was done and agreed that we would pay in instalments during the expected 8 weeks of the project. We had issues from the first day that the builder was on site. To be fair, we did have an unknown problem with our chimney stack but he assured us that it would not delay the project and that he had the experience to repair the chimney. The job progressed well enough for the first 2 weeks and 2 out of the 4 instalments were paid as per agreement. At the beginning of week 5 things started to rapidly go down hill. The chimney suddenly became a huge problem to the builder and he started telling us that we would need a structural engineer and probably steel support from ground level and that he wouldn't do anymore work until he had been advised by building control how to progress. Building Control arrived , decided that all that was needed was for the chimney stack to be dismantled and then rebuilt - immediately we were given a quote for £1440 and told that it would be 4 days work to repair our chimney stack. Then things got really bad. They removed an almost new Velux window from our house along with the flashing and when we asked them where it was they told us that we had told them to throw it away. We then had to purchase a new one. They then sent us an email stating that the chimney had caused a delay and that they were going to charge us for 12 man-days at £200/day. My husband disputed this with the builder and it ended up with the builder intimidating my husband in our own home. Then on the 18th April we received the demand for the 3rd payment, I argued stating that I did not think that the job had progressed sufficiently to warrant us paying 90% of the contract price. The builder insisted that the job was 85% complete (at 18 April) and that we therefore must pay the money - we did. After we had paid this invoice then the progress of the job became really slow and it appeared that they had lost interest and we began to notice that they were carrying out work that in our opinion was unacceptable. We were between the devil and the deep blue sea. We had parted with 10s of 1000s of £ and we didn't have a roof on our house. The builders had removed the roof on the 7 March. It took a lot of pushing and stress but they did finally finish on the 27 May - 4 weeks after they were supposed to. They never had sufficient resource - we had a carpenter and an unskilled labourer in our home for most of the time. The parting shot was smashing the double glazed panel in our oak front door and then denying it - I was given verbal and character abuse just for suggesting that the 2 workmen on site that day were possibly responsible for the damage. We were just glad to see the back of them and waited for the final invoice. Then just when we thought things coul
Neps - 10-Jul-16 @ 3:09 PM
My builder quoted to knock down wall between kitchen and dining room, I accepted the quote. Prior to work begining I asked if building regulations was required, he said NO that he had checked.Once work commenced and steel beam put in I had it inspected by a builder friend and he said it most definitely needed Building regulations.I called the council and they inspected and said same.My builder then admitted he should have checked if building regulations required and confirmed to remove 1st beam and replace since the 1st was too short.Now the builder wants to charge me for the additional work to replace the beam which now does meet building regulations.(I paid for the building regs application)At no time did he give me a price or quote for the removal and re-installation of the beam - I expected it to be done at no cost since I relied on his advice and in my eyes he tried to pull a fast one.What astonishes me is that there is no public domain that shows complaints against builders, where and who is complaining and what about.My local council are aware of builders dodging the system, but do not offer out any information who these companies are, so as the consumer we are always going to be taking a risk.Builders quotes and work should be audited in some way.
ALR001 - 2-Jul-16 @ 1:58 PM
Feelingveryletdown - Your Question:
> We are due to meet a builder this week to take the keys of a house he has renovated for us.> In a nutshell he has't done three of the major works he said he would do (we have paid him £30k in cash) and told us we owe him £5k more for "extras". When we challenged him last week he flew into a rage and threatened to smash up the kitchen and stormed out and brought a shovel in from his truck. We placated him. He dropped £500 off for not doing one of the jobs he said he would (moving an inside wall) and offered to remove an outside toilet and tidy up the outhouse it is housed in which we thought he would have done anyway as part of the renovation. We left it at that.We are due to meet him this week but don't want to pay him any extra. Obviously we are very concerned about what he might do. Any advice? Should we involve the police?

Our Response:
You could try contacting the police, but they will probably not have the time/inclination/resources to cover this. It might be worth taking a professionak with you, perhaps a friend who works in the law industry or another builder who will be able to check the work quality etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 7-Jun-16 @ 2:33 PM
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