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Help needed - dodgy gardeners

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by TeeDub, 24 Jun 2019.

  1. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    Yeah i thought the "spoken to a solicitor" thing is rubbish. It wouldn't bother me if he had because the quality of the work was up to scratch he wouldn't have to worry, and get angry about it. He could just say "ok there's some issues... lets resolve them" instead he starts of shouting and being aggressive.

    Luckily we've conversed nearly entirely by email and text. I also have recordings of any phone conversations (as I use my work phone for this and the nature of my work requires it), so have him on record being aggressive to me.

    I do fully intend to let him complete the work


    1) £5700
    2) Email quote and confirmation that it'll start w/ a breakdown of what would be done (vaguely) - as follows (verbatim)...

    To dig out and lay foundations for 2 x walls
    To lay concrete blocks
    To lay facing bricks
    To lay blue engineering bricks on top
    To prepare ground for paving
    To lay paving to both areas
    To point up using jointing compound
    To add extra gravel board to fence panel at top of garden
    At a cost of £2700.00

    Indian Stone Paving
    Sharp Sand
    Jointing Compound
    Cement
    Blue Engineering Bricks
    Red Facing Bricks
    Concrete Blocks
    Wall Ties
    Building Sand
    Ballast
    Gravel Board
    At a cost of £3000.00

    I note we haven't received the blue bricks as the guy laid the indian stone on top of the wall instead to make it easier to step on - to be honest I prefer it without the blue bricks. I requested a full and updated invoice, but haven't received it - I can't pay him until I get this.

    3) I've paid the £3000 for materials up front. Paid via bank transfer.
    4) I'll double check that, but I can't see it listed.
    5) No and no. There's a vague address, (town) and a google map with a marker on it. Having searched in company house, that building is listed as where the director of a limited company with the same name existed. The company was dissolved some years ago, but 100% it's the same person, so we have their address.

    I feel like a bit of an idiot for not checking some of this. I've done it fine with other people in the past and will in the future!
     
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  3. Notch7

    Notch7

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    I know its easy to say with hindsight, but sadly these online sites are generally not a good way to source good tradesmen. The reason is they are subsrciption based so they operate for the tradesperson not the customer.

    Networking is still the best way. I know thats not easy for somebody that works full tine, but its true.

    Ask at your local builders merchant, if you see a builder working on a job on a street near you -pop in and ask him, if he doesnt know, he might have a contact.

    Good trademen get most of their work by networking. Customers can do the same.
     
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  4. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    I usually use CheckAtrade as that's endorsed by trading standards in most places and that's done me well in the past. I tried it this time, but no-one really got back to me about the work and had to go elsewhere. I won't be sending him a penny until the work has been completed to the reasonable care and skill required by the consumer rights act (yeah read that too). To be honest... at the moment it's dangerous out there as the steps crumbled when I was going on them and cause me to nearly fall. Also the path is so uneven and unstable you could easily trip and fall. I've read that if something is dangerous you need to stop work immediately and get an inspection.

    @Notch7 I work for a staffing/recruitment company, and we say that "good people know good people"
     
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  5. Newboy

    Newboy

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    The important thing now is to get an expert report - don't rely on comments made by myself and other posters as we can only see part of the story.

    Keep the contractor informed - email him to advise what you are doing, why you are doing it (concerns about quality and safety etc.) and when you are doing it.

    On the subject of insurance / legal cover, check if you have it as part of your policy but also check that if you do use it does it count as a claim or affect your future premiums.

    RatedPeople do have a dispute resolution process - https://www.ratedpeople.com/c/help/home-owners-guidelines-for-dispute-resolution

    Above all you need to ensure that you act reasonably and fairly - can be difficult when dealing with the less scrupulous!
     
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  6. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    Cheers. Yes I was using the comments here as a reference and for what to look out for. Luckily the person I've asked to take a look is a chartered surveyor of a well known local registered landscaping firm! I didn't know he was a surveyor (he's a friend of a friend etc - looking for someone reliable).

    We've been reasonable and fair. We've stated what's going on and why we're upset, what we're upset about. He just keeps trying to scare us into thinking he has right to come on my land and check stuff and that I have to abide by his terms and business (which I've not seen and aren't on his website). I know that legal rights cannot be signed away in any contract and i don't have to pay anything until the work is done - I don't even have an invoice!
     
  7. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I would not be that confident that you have the proper address, without seeing him there..
     
  8. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    Maybe. Its on the electoral roll for 2019 and a few other more historic websites too of public record.
     
  9. sodthisforfun

    sodthisforfun

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    I think your spot on about this. A decent guy wouldn't get aggressive. He's trying to bully you, please don't let him. I hope you don't mind me saying but he sounds a right arsehole!
     
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  11. Newboy

    Newboy

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    Make it clear, in writing, that he is not permitted onto your property without your express invitation.

    Advise him that you will be back in touch (with a timescale if possible) once you have a written report with a view to resolving the issues.
     
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  12. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    and are you able to ring him at that address's landline number, the one on their website?

    It just seems so odd that a company with premises and a reputation to loose, would carry out what seems to be such a shoddy job and be so aggressive towards a customer. Did you pay cash, card or cheque upfront for the materials?
     
  13. Notch7

    Notch7

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    Im not a builder, but Im involved in construction - I dont know anybody that advertises, all the builders I know are always too busy. And tradesmen know each other -they meet on site, get recommended by others........

    £5,700 sounds a bit light for landscaping your garden, maybe your friend would give you some ballpark costings.

    The labour cost would only cover about 2 weeks for 2 people and I would guess its more work than that.

    I do hope you get it resolved -its a horrible situation , I know you must be hoping to be able to use the garden over this great summer
     
  14. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    It's taken 5 weeks in total... we're in week 6 now. They had 3 people on the first week and a bit, and when the digging was completed (by hand) they then went down to 2 men. They didn't come for around 5 working days, due to a constant week of torrential rain we had - we have really heavy clay soil that just ruins everything. They also had a problem with their van. They rented a separate van to continue coming after a couple of days - i know that can be tough and I sympathised. Originally it was quoted as 2 weeks work - but as far as I could tell they only did half days, turned up at 8 and left at 1pm. I did question this, but they always had an excuse like "we need to wait for the bricks and mortar to set". II know that a lot of builders will go to other jobs to finish little bits here and there - I know they're not reliable with that and time estimates can be widely off the mark. They only started doing full days on the last week and that was on Saturday and Sunday to make up for the time. He wasn't very organised, but the work did seem to continue.

    I don't know how he's making any money on the time he's put in and having to pay costs like van, business costs, equipment etc. I know I wouldn't work for 1/3rd of £2700 for 5 weeks that's "skilled" and really hard graft - there are better paying jobs for less effort! Probably if I work it out they've done around 30 man-days work (considering half days, bank holidays, an entire week off due to rain, 2-3 days van gone etc) which works out at ~£90 a day... so if there's three of them that's like £30 a day each. It they'd worked harder in the first instance they'd have got it done faster, gone home at the end of the second week and probably done the work better.

    This sounding worse and worse. To be honest I've picked up on the warning signs and not been happy with the work. That's why I've raised it. I've kept raising it with him (probably why he's upset at me now as I've been calling him out on his problems) and he hasnt' fixed anything. He came today to see what work needed remediating. I'll get my own list and one from the surveyor, we'll come to some kind of idea of what should be done and a timeline. If he doesn't do it he still doesn't get paid. I've found his "terms of business" document and that clearly states that I payment of labour is an acknowledgement that I'm happy with the work (which is obviously against the consumer rights act as they still have to do stuff afterwards if there are problems), but I can now use that against him in that I'm not satisfied, so I'm not paying him.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jun 2019
  15. Newboy

    Newboy

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    Don't forget that he's probably made a significant profit on the materials
     
  16. TeeDub

    TeeDub

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    I've no idea, what that a reasonable costing for it? I guess Ill ask when I see the surveyor tomorrow!
     
  17. Newboy

    Newboy

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    To be honest, it's a bit late to be costing out materials on the basis of photographs but there certainly isn't £3k worth of materials in that job as done.
     
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