Are cowboy plumbers, builders, etc., a peculiarly British phenomenon, or do other countries have the pleasure of them?

(12 Posts)
Caligyulea Wed 07-Dec-05 11:10:59

I'm just curious about this. I don't think I know any householder who hasn't been stung at least once by a cowboy tradesman, and I wondered whether this is a specifically British thing?

An Italian friend of mine is getting work done on his house and he is literally importing a bunch of builders from Italy because he's terrified of allowing a British builder into his home ("the f**kersa breaka my housa!") and I was quite amused by the lengths he's prepared to go to, but it got me wondering - do other countries have more controls over who is allowed to call themselves plumbers, bricklayers, electrician, etc.? And do they have more effective laws about dealing with crap workmanship? Are Neapololitan workmen really going to be more qualified and reliable than Londoners?

Any insights from mumsnetters outside of the UK welcome!

DingDongMaloryOnHighTowers Wed 07-Dec-05 11:12:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LIZS Wed 07-Dec-05 11:17:59

Friends in Switzerland bought a house off plan and had no end of problems with things not being done to agreed specification, flooding, short cuts taken etc.

tbh if you look at the amount of unfinished and cr*p building work in the Naples area I doubt your friend will get a great job done!

Caligyulea Wed 07-Dec-05 11:28:57

I must admit, without wishing to enter into offensive stereotypes I was a bit startled that he'd placed so much faith in his builders from Naples. (But perhaps they're Roman? I guess they did build the aqueducts etc...)

CliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Wed 07-Dec-05 11:33:28

There was a builder who used to prey on British ex-pats over here, cold-calling them to do some work for them. They trusted him because he spoke English!!!! He got put away recently.

But our neighbours across the road are having their roof re-tiled by a local roofer, they got married on the 5th Nov and went off on honeymoon for a week, assuming the work would be finished by then. He has almost completed it today. He just didn't show up for days at a time, leaving their roof looking like a right mess, and bits of scaffolding everywhere. And I'm sure gggimmesnowsnow will tell you tales of the various local tradesmen they used on their house in Bordeaux.

I think it all comes with the trade. They go on courses that teach them how to give ridiculous estimates; 101 excuses for not turning up that day, or the day after, or the day after; how to bamboozle your client with words that are not of any language; how to sit around on your arse all day whilst pretending to be busy at work; etc.

CliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Wed 07-Dec-05 11:34:11

The rogue builder was British btw.

OhlittletownofEIDSVOLD Wed 07-Dec-05 11:45:24

we have some here in Aus - see them outed onthe telly BUT we have been lucky enough so far to have had decent tradespeople whenever we need something done.

Nightynight Wed 07-Dec-05 11:48:19

Caligula - I would assume that a Neapolitan customer would have more comeback against Neapolitan builders iykwim

Caligyulea Wed 07-Dec-05 12:50:24

What about in Germany? And Scandinavia? Any Mumsnetters there with any knowledge? (Sorry, this is becoming a bit of an obsession!)

NotQuiteCockney Wed 07-Dec-05 12:53:05

Oh, I've never been stung by a cowboy tradesman. I've had varying quality, and varying reliability, but nobody actually evil or whatever.

But then, almost everyone I use has been personally recommended by other people. Our local mums share trademan details like mad.

I'm pretty sure it's a universal phenomenon.

Nightynight Fri 09-Dec-05 09:18:42

Have just asked my colleagues and apparently the term "cowboy builder" does not exist in German...

DerbyLewis Wed 27-Jul-16 23:40:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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