A chap contacted me suspecting that his mother was being duped and asked me to check it out for him (he was at work and couldn’t get away). The mother had apparently agreed for some ‘workmen’ who were ‘in the area’ to lay a new driveway for her. The son suspected that she was being scammed. I left immediately to visit the diligent workforce.
On the way I picked up a friend. I needed his help for two reasons: firstly, he’s a qualified builder and could tell me if the work was being done properly (and at the right price); and secondly, he’s a big bloke who knows how to look after himself in case things turned nasty. I had heard about some rogue Irish Travellers in the area who had been charging extortionate amounts for shoddy work that wouldn’t last beyond the next rain-fall.
We arrived there to find the workmen had already layed the foundation. I pretended to be the son of the mother I had been called out there to check on (something which you are legally allowed to do, by the way). The builder asked the workmen where the hard-core was. The foreman pointed to some fine black gravel and told the builder (though they didn’t know my friend was a reputable builder) that this was a special type of hardcore which all of the best building firms were now using, “it was a good job we had some left over from the last job.” Apart from trying not to laugh, I had heard enough and politely asked them to leave.
We waited around for a while to see if the ‘workmen’ would return for their ‘special hardcore’ they had left behind – they didn't. I informed the police that there were some scammers in the area and about what we had done.
I later found out that the same ‘workmen’ were arrested a week or so later after scamming and over-charging several other people. Some people are just too greedy.
It turns out that this job would have cost my client’s mother a few thousand pounds – nearly all of her life-savings.
The moral of the story is: if somebody comes knocking on your door and they happen to be in the area and they happen to notice that you have some work which needs doing (even though you probably don’t), don’t let them loose on your property. My advice would be not to speak to them at all (they can be quite manipulative). If you feel that you must speak with them, ask to see ID cards, credentials, what other jobs have they done in the area, which professional organisations are they a member of (ask for proof)?
The bottom line is if you want some work doing, get a quote from several reputable companies who have a string of local satisfied customers.
If it’s too late for that, call me.
Even if they have finished the job and left the property, if the work is not up to the standard that they had guaranteed it would be, I could still help you to claim your money back.