A local "highly recommended" trader may have ripped me off.

AdamPD
AdamPD Posts: 206
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edited 4 January at 12:27AM in Consumer rights
Hi all, I'm in need of some advice on what to do next in my situation.

Before I post my issue, yes I am naive and made some stupid mistakes in this issue, I know.

I'll post a timeline below of the events, but to summarize:

I have an external garage, the side door to the garage is wooden and also rotting away, to the point there's now a hand sized hole in the frame, letting in water and slugs/snails.

I'm on benefits, so it took me quite a few months to save up enough cash to start getting quotes, so I asked on a large private Facebook group for recommendations

Two people "highly recommended" a local trader, he owns a company and it had 4 glowing reviews.

Long story short, I paid him £600 up front via bank transfer (I know...probably the biggest mistake I made!) for a solid steel security door to be supplied and fitted.

That was two months ago, no sign of the door and constant excuses as to why.

I'm giving him another week before I escalate to whatever avenue I have to, which I think will be the small claims court?

Here's the timeline of events for a bigger picture:

===========

10/10/2023
Contacted on FB Messenger, pictures of door and measurements sent

17/10/2023
Quote received for £700 to replace frame, door, handle, labour to fit and waste removed.

20/10/2023 
Received screenshot of door. (Steel Security Door with Multi-Point Locking System on doorsforsecurity is priced at £234.00 + £70.00-£100 shipping).
Quoted £750 to supply and fit.
Accepted quote
Trader booked me in for November 4th, 2023.
Claims - "Which will be non refundable due to purchasing materials! Will send you how much and bank details asap"
Asked to pay via credit card, but he said he can't accept cards, only bank transfer.
I asked to delay until the 27th when I receive my pay, he agreed.

31/10/2023
Asked me to pay the invoice, for the job to completed on the 13th.

2/11/2023
Invoice requested and received.
Invoice was for £750, with £650 being paid today upfront, the rest on completion
Paid invoice.
He changed the deposit to £600.
"£600 deposit. Paid for door tonight waiting on acknowledgment. £150 will be outstanding until job complete"
He confirmed receipt of payment.

12/11/2023
First excuse - "I will chase the door up as it was made to order and haven’t seen that it’s out for delivery! Let me take a look and make a phone call (if there open)"

13/11/2023
Second excuse - "I’m making the phone call today! I’ve not received an acknowledgement off them so not happy to be honest mate!"

15/11/2023

Third excuse - "Right I heard - apparently they didn’t receive the order as it went into spam mate! They are currently on around a 3 week lead time. I’ve asked them to do better and come back to me on a fixed date so I can give to you! Probably will now be looking at first week in December mate 👍 sorry! Who doesn’t check there spam! I check mine daily"
(The lead time, at least, is accurate, the website does say 3-5 weeks).

27/11/2023

Asked for an ETA, reply was - "I will call in a bit mate and it better be your right"

5/12/2023

PM received - "Garage door is coming just before Christmas - however the guy doing it isn’t free until 2nd week of jan as he’s away.
I will speak with him about this and come back to you"

24/12/2023
Asked for an update, unread, no reply

3/01/2023
Asked for an update, no reply.

Sent him a text to his phone saying I'd messaged him on facebook, he claims he hadn't read it because he dropped his phone and it wasn't working.
Says he will chase it up as it should've been here by now.
Odd how he can reply to texts from an iPhone (blue bubble text boxes), despite his phone supposedly being broken!
I said if you haven't received the door after two months he needs to refund me if it's not here within the next week, as water and such is now getting into the garage
His response was "If it's not here I will ask for a refund mate for sure!
Says he will pop over Saturday morning.
I said there's no need to pop by, I just want what I paid for.
If i'ts not here next week you need to refund me, the onus is on you to refund the customer as a business for services not provided.
I said I wasn't trying to sound like an a***, but I've seen no proof this door was even ordered.
Text went unanswered.
My PM to him on Facebook was read 5 hours later.
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Comments

  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,696
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    Whereabouts in the UK are you?

    Doors4security deliver from their premises in Congleton in Cheshire which is quite central. The website currently says that door is in stock and is delivered to most locations in 5-7 days.

    Paying by bank transfer isn't stupid, lots of legitimate deals are done that way, but paying by card where possible gives you additional rights if things go wrong.

    Paying so much in advance was perhaps not such a good idea. Doors4security accept credit cards, so with hindsight perhaps you should have paid direct for the door and offered to pay the fitter the balance when he carried out the job.

    It's a bit early yet to take him to court. See what he has to say on Saturday.
  • AdamPD
    AdamPD Posts: 206
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    Thanks Alderbank, yea I'm going to give him a week as per my last text to him, so Wednesday

    I'm based in Worthing and he's in Littlehampton.

    I think because the door/frame is a non standard size, it takes longer for delivery, I think they have to fit an expandable frame to it? something like that.
  • cardriver98
    cardriver98 Posts: 38
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    why would you trust ANYTHING ln social media.. ??
    CHECK A TRADE and the like are the go to firms !



  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,318
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    edited 4 January at 7:13AM
    Hello OP

    Do you have his address OP?

    Goods (the door) must be supplied within 30 days or the agreed time. Where that doesn't occur you may give another timeframe that is reasonable to the situation and if that is also not met you may treat the contract at an end for a full refund.

    Regarding the service (fitting), the contract has already been breached, you'd usually require a repeat performance and then seek a price reduction.

    Obviously if the contract for the door was treated at an end you'd except to have a refund for the service too as the guy can't fit a door you aren't buying (unless he gives the door for free!). 

    Some trader's can be poor at communication, not to suggest that's an excuse, I guess if he had been a bit more honest after the first failed attempt and said "look it could be 2-3 months for the door, really sorry would you like to wait or be refunded" a lot of headache could have been saved but it feels he wants to tie you in (probably because his order for the door is non-refundable with his supplier) but that's not your problem really. 

    Tricky to deal with these things but ultimately letter before action and small claims, a lot of headache for £750 when hopefully a door will materialise at some point, if you hadn't paid in full I'd suggest knocking the price down but too late on that one now sadly.

    Opening post was long, apologies if I misread/missed anything :) 
  • AdamPD
    AdamPD Posts: 206
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    Hello OP

    Do you have his address OP?
    Tricky to deal with these things but ultimately letter before action and small claims, a lot of headache for £750 when hopefully a door will materialise at some point, if you hadn't paid in full I'd suggest knocking the price down but too late on that one now sadly.

    Opening post was long, apologies if I misread/missed anything :) 
    Thanks Lunatic, I appreciate the reply.
    I thought I had his address, as he did send me an invoice
    But the deeper I dig, the more red flags are popping up, flags I should've picked up on and done my research on from the get go.
    The invoice has no address on it and even my name is spelt wrong.
    Doing a fair amount of digging and the company he works for on the side appears to be owned by his family, so that address is visible on companies house, so I've noted that down in the mean time.
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,796
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    I think you hold fire a little longer, but continue to gather information as you are doing so.  Hopefully you won't need it.  Keep your communications firm but polite.

    Small claims court is the ultimate route, but there's no point rushing.  The court process itself will take quite a while, so waiting a week or so longer isn't going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things.
  • AdamPD
    AdamPD Posts: 206
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    Will do, thanks Aylesbury.
    There were two painters who he subcontracted to sort my bathroom wall out, they were pretty negative in their reviews of him (after I'd already paid the guy, not before), so I'll see if they have his address.
  • AdamPD
    AdamPD Posts: 206
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    Got the address from the tilers, in a different town than I expected, but still local.
  • HHarry
    HHarry Posts: 864
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    AdamPD said:
    why would you trust ANYTHING ln social media.. ??
    CHECK A TRADE and the like are the go to firms !



    I was hoping to avoid receiving unhelpful comments like this by starting my op explaining I was naive and made stupid mistakes, but there's always one I guess.
    With regards to check a trade, it's not a guaranteed source of trademen/women who won't let you down, the last trader I hired from trustpilot to redo my kitchen did an awful job and nothing short of ripping it out and redoing the whole floor, will fix it.
    Just ignore it Adam.  As all the horror stories about Checkatrade show, it really isn’t the place to go.   Any site that is financed by the Tradespeople it is promoting has to keep them sweet; and that can be to the detriment of those that want the work done.

    Anyway MCOL (small claims) is probably the only way to force a resolution, but the chances of seeing anything back are slim.  You should log it with Trading Standards, via Citizens Advice, so that if it happens regularly there’s a chance someone may take a look at it.  And you could see if your local paper has some kind of Consumer Rights champion who might get involved.

    I’m sorry if your money has disappeared.
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