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Having a nightmare with a builder/Gardner. To cut a long story short, we wanted our back garden landscaped, eventually we found one who seemed reasonable. He wanted quite a large deposit to book a day he would start, my wife deposited the money in his account. Come the day he was due to start, he didnt, he made some sort of excuse up. That was on the monday, he didnt start until the Wednesday. He dropped off two you lads who, fair enough ripped up my old lawn and flags. They did two days work (The Wednesday and Thursday), no sign of them Friday. Unbeknown to me, my wife had even him more money. He started coming up with extra work which needed doing, my wife gave him more money. Things have gone from bad to worse, hes now halted the job as we have refused to give him more money. The last work that was done was to lay down crush (which is substandard) and run which is only about half to an inch thick. Rather than get a skip, he put the rubbish in my front garden and basically left it looking like a building site. He keeps messaging me on Facebook, asking me to give him more money. I haven't answered. He has even called me aggressive and talked about an exit plan as he didn't like the way I was with him, asking him wtf he was up to.I haven't been aggressive or given him any kind of abuse other than speak my mind.

I want to go through the small claims court or even see a Solicitor, as it stands ATM, I'm quite a lot of money down, money I cannot afford to lose. Any help and advice with this will be very much appreciated right now so thanks in advance guys.


Last edited by TudorBlue; 12th May 2017 7:24pm.
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sorry to hear this. One of my gardening customers (elederly lady) has had a bit of a problem with someone who flagged her garden. although she didn't pay over the odds and finally got job finished .

Important things .....did you get a written quote spelling out what the work was and the price. Do you have a record/receipt of all monies paid ..keep any emails texts etc.
Is he fair trades or other approved.? (you can apply pressure that way..)
Wouldn't pay any more money over. If you have a quote then he is obliged to finish the work at the price.
Communicate in writing emails or text rather than just verbal.
Give him opportunity to finish the work and ask for a completion date.

Do you have a record of how many lads he had working and for how many days ( work out what it has cost him to date with labour and materials etc.
The crusher run cant really be laid that thinly as the stones are usually 2 inches...unless he has just used grit.

Small claims court will need as much info.

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Originally Posted by fish5133
sorry to hear this. One of my gardening customers (elederly lady) has had a bit of a problem with someone who flagged her garden. although she didn't pay over the odds and finally got job finished .

Important things .....did you get a written quote spelling out what the work was and the price. Do you have a record/receipt of all monies paid ..keep any emails texts etc.
Is he fair trades or other approved.? (you can apply pressure that way..)
Wouldn't pay any more money over. If you have a quote then he is obliged to finish the work at the price.
Communicate in writing emails or text rather than just verbal.
Give him opportunity to finish the work and ask for a completion date.

Do you have a record of how many lads he had working and for how many days ( work out what it has cost him to date with labour and materials etc.
The crusher run cant really be laid that thinly as the stones are usually 2 inches...unless he has just used grit.

Small claims court will need as much info.


Yes got every message, he didn't give us a written quote, the work. Don't know where to turn or what to say in reply to his last message or even if I should reply, I don't want to have to give him more money, he won't do a y more work until he gets another payment. The lads who did the work, crush and run, didn't have a clue, one was trying to rake using a yard brush according to my wife, the crush n run is substandard. And as I said, only about half an inch to an inch thick.

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How does the small claims courts work?

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I'm sure I could think of a way to get all your money back very easily ha

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Get an appointment with citizens advice, they will guide you through exactly what you need to do.


We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
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Gonna be a long haul this one, nothing is easy these days mate

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Take lots of photos from different angles. Citizens advice good suggestion. The court forms are easy to fill in & you can get them from the court.There is a fee which I think varies according to amount of claim. You get this back if you win but even if you do will he pay as instructed ? Is there anyone on Wiki who would be willing to give you an expert opinion by inspecting the work done so far.Good luck

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Can you 'name & shame' to stop anyone else getting ripped off? My daughter is looking to have her back garden flagged & turfed and I would hate to think of her going to this clown.


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I'll inbox you.

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Good luck TudorBlue - had issues with a 'builder' over a loft conversion some time ago, long story short, contacted trade association, seems was registered long enough to use their name then ditched membership.
Went to Trading Standards- very helpful, previous thread advice over records inc photos is key, CAB also a good shout - none of this costs you. We were lucky enough to have Trading Standards take on case and take individual to court and force to cease trading. Still had to cover cost of remedial work, but wouldnt have trusted the person to complete anyway.
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Trading Standards
Department of Regeneration & Environment Services
Wallasey Town Hall
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED


t: Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06
e: [email protected] OR [email protected]
w: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council Trading Standards website

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Good luck TudorBlue, I had a similar problem a few years back when having our drive paved, he did about a third of the job (which was cruddy) and then disappeared behind a wall of excuses. I know the sense of helplessness you're feeling. Luckily I mentioned my predicament to a friend of mine and he got a couple of his chums from Liverpool to pay him a visit and explain how it would greatly benefit his health and future prosperity if he were to recompense me, he became most compliant. Happy days.

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Sorry to pour salt on the wounds but it needs to be said for others.

Never pay builders upfront, not even for materials.

If a builder hasn't got a 28 day account with suppliers there is a reason for this, the suppliers have closed his account and he probably still owes them money.

By all means make stage payments eg pay for materials after they have been delivered or if its a long job make payment for work done to date - but make sure payments are behind the value to date.

Eg if a job totals £1000, make sure there is at least £250 still to pay when the job is complete. At the half way point only pay a maximum of £300.

But personally I wouldn't trust a builder that needs any money before the job is complete unless the job is longer than 28 days.



We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
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Resurrecting an old topic as we look like we're going through something similar - it was a big building job that has taken so far 3 times longer than planned and work has slowed to a snail's pace with days where nothing happens and now he's ghosting us not turning up at all. We have a contract with staged payments and we are in the last stage of the build when i'm finding issues with things that were apparently complete.

Would citizens advice be my best place to start to try and sort this mess out?

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Yes, citizen's advice, they probably won't resolve the issue but they will guide you how to proceed.


We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
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