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My builder has ripped me off.


 
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pookspoons

from United Kingdom

Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:55 pm Reply with quote

Not sure if I am posting this in the correct section so apologies if it should be somewhere else.

I employed a building company to build an extension (he came recomended by a local man who had used him a lot and also by my highly reputable local architect)

Anyway, this builder, started work and immediately we could sense that their were going to be problems.

A couple of weeks into the project and we knew we'd made a huge mistake in hiring his company.

From day one they started demolishing our garage ready for the extension using a sledge hammer and an angle grinder without any safety equipment, no barriers or warning signs and were causing damage to both my brand new landrover and my neighbours car which was parked on our shared driveway.
Lumps of the garage roof were flying everwhere and then the roof finally caved in.

Worked seemed to escalate after the garage fell down and the extension finally started to take shape.

By week eight they were four weeks behind schedule and the cracks were starting to appear again. The work was being completed totally wrong according the the architect plans and the staff were cutting corners.

Things that I considered important werent correct like the window lintels were loose, the roof hadnt been tied on, they had plasterboarded over empty cavities that should have been filled with insulation, a fire wall was plasterboarded up empty the overflow pipes in the new build had been snapped off at the wall, plasterboarded over and not redirected, the patio doors were fitted below the damp course and fitted the wrong way round.....oh, the list of their mistakes went on and on and on!

I am a wheelchair user and my downstairs WC was demolished and I was left without a WC for 8 weeks and the entire extension was built to DDA standards.

Staff werent turning up or if they did, they were late or hadnt got the right tools equipment etc..

Eventually, I had enough and I told them all to leave after forking out over 55,000

I took legal advice and an independant surveyor was employed. His list of problems made up an 11 page document.

Anyway, my legal team have told me that because this company was a LTD one, he has now closed the company leaving me without any legal rights whatsoever unless I want to go to considerable expense taking him through the courts.

I had to employ another builder and in the end, it cost me 38,000 over the original budget and some of the work quoted for still isnt completed.

He is now trying to sue me for an imaginary 12,000 (he's trying to charge me because the garage wasnt constructed how they thought it was so it took longer to demolish and because their original plumber plumbed in for a combi boiler, but when the proper plumber arrived he complained that we were having an ordinary one.
He's also charged me for a 60w boiler but only installed a 24w one. (when we challenged him about this he said that you dont count the beans in a tin of heinz do you??)

Right, so, how do I get this B*&tard back without going through the courts or if I do persue the courts route am I likely to win???
I am reluctant to employ someone to knee cap him, but admit that the idea is tempting.

We have since found out that he has closed the company down and had been registered as four different companies in as many years and his name hasnt appeared on any of the company documents either becuase he is an undisclosed or undischarged bankrupt!! The company is in his wifes and his daughters names.

Sorry that this has turned out so long but would really appreciate any advice that you can offer.

Thank you.

Regards Pookspoons
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marsaday

from United Kingdom

Joined: 01 Nov 2007
Posts: 1269
Location: Yorkshire,
United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:53 pm Reply with quote

did you get comparable quotes by the way ?

if your architect did recommend him you can take legal action against him i think, but doing the legal action is long and costly.

have you got what you originally wanted now? and has it cost you 38k over what you initially thought it would do? if so, how much can you realistically reclaim and how much will it cost you to reclaim this amount?

if the company has gone bust i dont think you have much of a chance.
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Deluks

from United Kingdom

Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 6745
Location: Surrey,
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:18 pm Reply with quote

See if you can take legal action against his wife and daughters, strike at his weakest point.
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gregers

from United Kingdom

Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: Sussex,
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:49 pm Reply with quote

er just a thought!

how can he counter sue if he has wound up his company??
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gday2uk

from United Kingdom

Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 459
Location: Isle of Wight,
United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:52 am Reply with quote

Why did you pay all that money over and why did you let it go so far? If you could tell there were going to be problems at demolition stage did you not think to be a bit cautious with the purse strings and only release stage payments when you were happy with what had been done and it had been inspected and passed by the building inspector?
On this kind of budget you could have done with employing the architect who recommended them or at least some kind of project manager to take responsibility off your shoulders.
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Nige F

from United Kingdom

Joined: 28 Jun 2005
Posts: 16098
Location: United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:26 pm Reply with quote

Matt Allwright and his programme Rogue Traders icon_idea.gif just a phone call ( to the tv network) away...you might not get but you`ll get revenge . Good Luck.
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pookspoons

from United Kingdom

Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:58 pm Reply with quote

Hello all,
Firstly, thank you all so much for your replies with offers of advice etc.

I will try to answer you all individually.

To poster 'marsaday' yes, I did seek comparable quotes and although the builder I chose was slightly more expensive, his original time scales were more realistic than the other. Plus, also the builder I chose laid out his quotes in a most professional and understandable manner so that I could see exactly where the money was going to be spent.
I almost have what I wanted originally but still there's work that needs doing because the work was supposed to be to build an extension so that I can move around freely in my wheelchair, but there are still doors that my chair wont fit through, but the money has now run out and will sadly never be completed.
Thank you.

To poster Deluks, I am now intending to persue the daughters and his wife for the money but despite their luxury home, they dont have any other money. I would be happy for them to sell the house to pay me back after all, they were happy enough to sign as directors and recieve the bonus payments so in my oppinion they must be prepared to face the other side of the coin of directorship. Thank you.

To poster gregers, the wife and daughter have returned their shares back to companies house but this was done after I started legal proceedings. The builder has employed a private company to chase me for the 12,000. Thank you.

To poster gday2uk The reason I let the situation get so far was because each time I questioned him he always had a reasonable explanation for why this was how it was and that I mustnt worry because he would personally ensure that al was corrected as to my requirements.
I hasten to add here that I was paying the money in installments and didn't find out that the building inspector was never called in to inspect any of the work. He only turned up later in the building work and was annoyed that he hadn't been called in to inspect the sewers etc.. He advised me to throw them off site.
I did hang back with one payment because I wasn't happy but the builder broke into my property and stole everything back and even took back items that I had paid for!
My husband ended up taking six weeks off of his own work to act as foreman because there was no foreman or site manager on site at all at any stage. Thank you.

To poster Nige F, I have already reported this man to Rogue traders, but I suspect that they have so many cowboy builders reported to them I dont expect a reply. I will definitely try them again though.Thank you.


Again thank you so much for all of your replies.

I know I handed over a lot of money and to you it probably appears as if I am a stupid woman, but, although I am genuinely an intelligent person, this man really had pulled the wool over my eyes and veiled threats were made by some members of his team. One carpenter even threatened to come back and 'see' me if it ended up that he wasn't going to be paid.

Incidentally this builder has since opened up trading under another name and I've seen him around town with his two 'henchmen'. Goodness oy knows who he managed to swindle to sign the directors paperwork?

Many thanks again for all of your help. I will look into suing the wife and daughter but to be honest, I don't think I can honestly afford it now.
I wonder if legal aid would cover me for this?

Best regards Pookspoons
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dextrous

from United Kingdom

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Posts: 6321
Location: Manchester,
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:19 am Reply with quote

If you want, I know people who know people, if you catch my meaning.
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IJWS15

from United Kingdom

Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 1256
Location: Staffordshire,
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:23 am Reply with quote

If he was trading as a limited company and it is in administration or liquidation (see companies house web-site to check) then only the liquidator/administrator can sue you.

You can seek recompense from the administrator/liquidator but don't hold your breath.

Action against the directors would require evidence that they were not acting properly - very difficult to proove.

Now was the quote on headed paper, did you get VAT invoices (i.e. was he putting the money through the company books or not)

If not there may be an argument that you did not trade with the company but with him directly - a risky route since it also opens up a potential action from him against you. His attempt to sue you indicates that he thinks this is the case (or it suits him to), unfortunately unless you want to defend yourself you will incur some costs defending the action and you will not recover all those costs when he loses but he will know that - he is probably expecting a payment from you to make the action go away. Saddly one of the features of our legal system is that a totally spurious action costs the defendent money.
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gday2uk

from United Kingdom

Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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Location: Isle of Wight,
United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:42 am Reply with quote

pookspoons wrote:
I did hang back with one payment because I wasn't happy but the builder broke into my property and stole everything back and even took back items that I had paid for!


pookspoons wrote:
although I am genuinely an intelligent person


So you called the police and reported the theft?

I'm sorry you have been 'done' by this guy but really all the warning signs were there from the beginning.
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jm2000

from United Kingdom

Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Posts: 120
Location: Lancashire,
United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:06 pm Reply with quote

I cant imagine ever ripping anyone off like that.

Police for the stolen items if you have receipts

Trading standards.

Is he a member of the confederation of master builders....if so report him.

Local press.....imagin the head line

LOCAL BUILDER RIPS OF WHELLCHAIR BOUND CUSTOMER.

SORRY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE.
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toptec

from United Kingdom

Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: Dorset,
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:44 pm Reply with quote

pookspoons wrote:

The builder has employed a private company to chase me for the 12,000. Thank you.

Let him continue going down this route it will be costing him money. Wait until you receive court papers and then countersue. If you have had independent reports done that questions his work then you are solid ground. Do NOT cave in to any private company. If you have any calls either personal or telephone record a summary of the call for later use.
pookspoons wrote:

I did hang back with one payment because I wasn't happy but the builder broke into my property and stole everything back and even took back items that I had paid for!

Report this matter to the Police on two grounds. Property that is removed that clearly belongs to you is theft. 2. If he broke into your property then that is criminal damage and trespass. Insist that the Police investigate. Push them by letter and telephone to tell you the result and if they will not persue it ask why not. Request this in writing. Don't be fobbed off. Write to the CC of your Force if you are not satisfied.
pookspoons wrote:

I wonder if legal aid would cover me for this?

Sorry I doubt it will. But I would contact Consumer direct for advice if you don't have a solicitor.
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Thermo

from United Kingdom

Joined: 21 Oct 2004
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Location: Sussex,
United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:59 pm Reply with quote

have you spoken to cab and trading standards?
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