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Wise mumsnetters advice needed about a possible con man

(12 Posts)
bouncy Sat 18-Jun-05 10:20:58

The thing is we are having our garden done and having it paved over and other work done, our area there are not a lot of gardeners/landscapers, the ones I have phoned most cant do work for ages, the few that can start within a month all placed quoted, we had a leaflet through the door offering these services so we gave him a call as well, when the quotes came in they varies the majority were about £1200 - £1400, but this one quote was for £1050 and we are borrowing this money, so the extra £150 is quite a lot to us.

the thing is there was no address on the leaflet and when he submitted the quote there was only a telephone number and mobile number on that as well, the quote seemed ok and when the guy came round he sounded as if he knew what he was talking about, he said that he used to work for someone and decided to join up with his brother who also does paving.

I wondered if its normal for people to leave off adresses, when he came round he did give address of people who's work he has done, this was verbal and cant remember details, i am a very shy person and wouldn't like to knock of doors anyway and ask to see there garden.

Advice needed please.

cupcakes Sat 18-Jun-05 10:23:08

I would think if he was really reputable he would have an address AND a VAT number on his paperwork. Doesn't necessarily mean he'll fleece you but still...

WigWamBam Sat 18-Jun-05 10:23:25

I wouldn't trust anyone whose only contact was a telephone number - sorry. You can't check whether he's legitimate, if he's a member of a trade organisation or if he's insured.

emily05 Sat 18-Jun-05 10:25:34

My bil is a builder and leaves his address off of his buisness cards and flyers as he still live at home with the inlaws. Could it be because he doesnt have a buisness address as such?

Cam Sat 18-Jun-05 10:33:47

Personally I wouldn't go near this.

Caligula Sat 18-Jun-05 10:42:25

If he does do it wrong, that's a hell of a lot of (borrowed) money, on which presumably, you'll be paying interest, to fork out for a screw up.

I don't really like knocking on people's doors either, but tbh the thought wasting £1000 of money I haven't even got, would give me the incentive I needed to overcome any shyness. I would definitely ask for 3 references, one of them to be the most recent job he has done, and check them out. It just doesn't sound like you can afford to take a risk with over a thousand pounds.

This is what I hate about England - it's full of con-men who are allowed to trade without a licence or training and there really isn't a lot you can do about it. I once took a cowboy builder to the small claims court for £1000 (which I couldn't afford to lose) and I won, but so what? He didn't pay me and I never heard from him again. There really is very little protection for you in this situation, so I'd really check him out.

Also what financial terms is he offering? Because if he's confident he'll do the job well, the bulk of the money should not be paid up until the job is finished to your satisfaction (although it's reasonable for him to ask for no more than half the money up front for materials etc.)

NoPearls Sat 18-Jun-05 10:42:47

Bouncy, my DH is a gardener and is booked up for usually about 2 months in the summer if not longer. People often whinge when he says the earliest he can do a job is six weeks' time etc - but the reason he is booked up is because he is good and reliable (totally objective opinion there, of course...) If someone is free to do a job very quickly it might be that they are just starting out, but I would also wonder why they weren't busier (especially in an area where you say there aren't many of them about).

DH's quotes always have our address and phone number on them. His business cards just have his name and phone number in large text as most of his customers are sweet little old ladies with failing eyesight!!

Caligula Sat 18-Jun-05 10:45:42

Agree with nopearls - unless a customer has suddenly changed their mind, most good builders/ gardeners etc. are booked up a long time in advance. My wonderful builder never even advertises, he's always booked up up to a year in advance, and all his work is got by word of mouth.

eemie Sat 18-Jun-05 10:47:01

Agree with Caligula, whenever you have a big job done there are things that go wrong. The people who are happy to give references are the ones you can rely on to keep coming back and fixing things until they're right. And they don't charge extra for doing this, they take responsibility for their work, so it ends up being cheaper in the long run.

bouncy Sat 18-Jun-05 16:34:01

Thanks for your advice.

I am lending the money off my mum, paying back £150 a month, so the interest is not really a problem. I will wait and see what quotes come back and see if any of them are cheaper, think i might as well pay a little extra and be more sure.

edam Sat 18-Jun-05 16:43:30

Also worth phoning your local trading standards department and asking whether they've had any complaints about this man.

RTKangaMummy Sat 18-Jun-05 17:16:56


Like others have said

A good workman will be too busy


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