Spot a Cowboy Builder!

A builder operating in Darwen has recently been imprisoned for 27 months, after swindling his loyal customers out of their life savings.

Trading under the name Builddex, Bradshaw, plead guilty to thousands of pounds worth of fraud and bankruptcy offences at Preston Crown Court last month. The court heard how Bradshaw gained the trust of multiple Darwen homeowners over a 4 year period. He would promise clients work would be carried out, charge money up front and then never complete the work. He now owes many residents £36,000 to £38,000 where he left jobs unfinished or in a worse state, to the dismay of his customers.

The Judge presiding had this to say: “These are real people who have suffered loss, not Government departments or institutions, but people who have invested in their homes.

“The victims talk of the excitement at the prospect of improving their houses but are left with anxiety, distress and difficulties in their relationships. They speak of the misery of having to live in their houses as a daily reminder.”*

Cllr Yusuf Jan-Virmani, Blackburn and Darwen Council’s executive member for housing, said “I would advise everyone to be careful who you employ to do work on your property.”*

We definitely agree with Cllr Jan-Virmani and want all our East Lancashire readers to be wary of such rogue traders. Your home is your sanctuary, you’ve put your life-savings, possibly your inheritance, into purchasing your dream property; so you don’t want your future happiness dashed by crooks like these.

Remember the story of The Ribble Valley Roofer back in 2014? This rogue trader advertised displaying a Confederation of Roofing Contractors emblem when he was no longer a member, and even got on one Clitheroe customer’s roof threatening to remove slates if he wasn’t paid!

Be wary of the following when instructing a builder:

  • Very cheap quotes or estimates.

Get at least 3 different quotes.

  • Evades putting a quote/estimate in writing.
  • Reluctance to offer references.

A confident builder will get lots of their recommendations from previous customers, so a reputable one will have lots of people to put forward honest references. It’s also worth having a look on their website and social media feeds to see if they have any online recommendations.

  • Only accepts cash.
  • Asks for money up front.
  • Doesn’t offer a contract.
  • Is extremely keen to start straight away.

Cowboy builders tend to do lots of work in one area and then just vanish; often leaving shoddy or unfinished work and will be virtually impossible to track down.

  • Isn’t a member of a trade organisation or claims to be when they actually aren’t. RE: Ribble Valley Roofer

Ask if they’re a member of an approved trader scheme, e.g. TrustMark, then confirm it. You can also access up to 6 years of their CCJ history through Registry Trust.

So if you’re thinking of an extension or loft conversion, make sure you check with Ainsworth Lord Estates to see if it will add value, as not all building works will increase the value of your home. Contact us today on 01254 760660 or email: .