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  • FIRST POST
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 8th Jan 18, 11:02 AM
    • 684Posts
    • 378Thanks
    Raxiel
    Been scammed, any options?
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:02 AM
    Been scammed, any options? 8th Jan 18 at 11:02 AM
    Let me preface this by saying, I don’t expect to see my money again, but perhaps there’s an option I missed. At the very least I’d like to make it harder for the scammers to enjoy their ill-gotten gains.

    TLDR: Company who’d previously done satisfactory work took a cash deposit for a new job then vanished with it when I attempted to cancel under the 14 day rule.


    Last summer I was approached by a company offering quotes for new gutters, soffits, & fascia’s. I wanted them doing, so we had a quote, accepted it and paid a deposit on credit card. After the salesman had left, I realised the company we’d just signed up with wasn’t the one I’d found online with a history of good reviews, but a virtual unknown with a similar name. I was a bit nervous at this point, but the deposit had CC protection, and the fitters turned up on time, with the products specified, and did a good job fitting it all, so we were happy. When the time came to pay the balance they wouldn’t accept the CC again and insisted on a bank transfer which was annoying but not the end of the world considering the price I paid.

    Jump forward to October, I got another call from the salesman I’d dealt with, asking if I’d be interested in a quote for new windows (something we’d discussed at the first meeting) as they had a sale on. I thought a quote couldn’t hurt, and agreed.
    I intended to get multiple quotes, but due to family issues at the time I didn’t contact any other companies (first mistake). On the agreed date, a different salesman turned up. He went through our options, made some good suggestions, and generally seemed to know his stuff. When the time came for the price, I was expecting a figure in the £4k range, so when he quoted £2500 it felt like a steal. He said it was low because they were cutting profit to the bone to keep work going. Given the time of year that seemed reasonable. Not wanting to miss a good deal we went for it there and then without waiting for other quotes (Second mistake). He asked for a £250 deposit, but wouldn’t take a credit card, but instead gave the same bank details we’d used before. My previous experience with them (a bit disorganised but got the job done) had my guard down and I transferred the money (third, big mistake).


    That night I had a call from the original salesman, saying he could see I’d paid a deposit into the company account, and that I should know they were going bust and were just collecting as many deposits as they could before that happened. He made various other claims, that the salesman we saw was on parole, the company ‘office’ was just an apartment in a block, lots of other customers wanting refunds, and that he himself was owed money etc.

    I checked the address on google maps and it was indeed a residential block, I checked the companies Facebook page (which I’d visited previously) and it was gone. The website was still up though.

    I messaged the salesman we’d dealt with saying I wanted to cancel. I spoke to the owner of the company the next day and repeated my intention (without saying why) and he told me to fill in the cancellation portion of the contract form and mail it in, which I did so that day.
    A few days later I got another call from ‘Steve in cancellations’, asking if I was cancelling because of a call from the first salesman, I admitted I had, and he told me they had dismissed the salesman because they discovered he was a convicted fraudster. He gave me his real name and it didn’t take long to establish that part was true. He asked me if I still wanted to cancel, or if I wanted to think about it over the weekend. I decided to think about it.


    In the meantime, I contacted the company who would have manufactured the windows (it wasn’t the same firm) who confirmed that they do supply and fit windows for the company I had been dealing with, but I still felt uncomfortable, and after asking opinions on this forum over whether the quote was too good to be true, I called 'Steve' again and said I still wanted to cancel, and he told me it would take a couple of days to process my refund.


    A couple of days pass, no money, I call ‘Steve’ again and the number goes straight to Voicemail, I call the owner and he doesn’t answer, I withhold my number and call again later and he does. I press him on the refund and he says it will be made by reversing the bank transfer ‘in the next couple of days’. After a couple more days with no money I call again and every time I do it rings and then goes to voicemail (whether I withhold my number or not)


    The company website has disappeared; along with the owners own Facebook profile (found while searching the company name on FB). Searching on the Companies house site I can’t find any record of the company.
    I called again today after leaving it over the Christmas period. This time the phone was answered by someone with a suspiciously similar accent, but they claimed to have no idea who I was calling about and that they’d had the number for 3 weeks (I’m pretty sure Vodafone don’t recycle numbers that quickly). I don't believe them but I can't prove otherwise.




    Thanks for reading this far. So what, if any are my options?
    I have: a handful of phone numbers, the residential address the company was trading from, my original credit card deposit for the gutters, and the bank account used for deposits.
    No doubt they have both since been closed down, but they were originally trading as a legitimate company so it’s possible Vodafone/the landlord/bank had the correct identity details for the owner so he could be chased for a CCJ, but for £250 is it worth paying the MCOL fees for a claim that might still go nowhere?

    If not, should I be reporting it to Action Fraud? Or anyone else?


    Thoughts?
Page 1
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 8th Jan 18, 11:20 AM
    • 31,893 Posts
    • 20,083 Thanks
    DCFC79
    • #2
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:20 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:20 AM
    When you called the number did they answer with a name of the company ?

    Do you know for sure the firm is still trading from the address you have ?

    No harm in doing a mcol but if they aren't there anymore then its a pointless exercise.

    Who was the company ?

    Im undecided if you have been scammed or just unlucky.
    Last edited by DCFC79; 08-01-2018 at 11:22 AM.
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 8th Jan 18, 12:34 PM
    • 684 Posts
    • 378 Thanks
    Raxiel
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 18, 12:34 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 18, 12:34 PM
    When you called the number did they answer with a name of the company ?

    Do you know for sure the firm is still trading from the address you have ?

    No harm in doing a mcol but if they aren't there anymore then its a pointless exercise.

    Who was the company ?

    Im undecided if you have been scammed or just unlucky.
    Originally posted by DCFC79
    When I called in the early days, they'd answer with the company name, when I was trying to cancel they didn't, but would confirm it was them when asked. When I called today it was just 'Hello' and 'No, I don't know who that is'

    I've not been to visit the address, I suppose I could if I wanted to waste half a day, but given every other trace of them has vanished I doubt they're still there. When I questioned 'Steve' about them using a residential address, he told me they "Were just using it while getting established, and would be moving to an industrial unit before the end of the year"

    If it were a larger amount of money, I'd raise a claim against the company at the address on the contract, then if they didn't respond and I got a default, get onto the 'cant pay we'll take it away' lot to track them down, but I'm not convinced it's worth it for £250 even though it galls me to let them get away with it.

    The company was "Weather Guard Roofline", not to be confused with "Weatherguard Roofing"

    It did occur to me that they might just be genuinely struggling, and were putting in low* quotes just to keep the lights on over winter and that they took my deposit with the intention of fulfilling it, but (not helped by their former salesman calling customers) they went bust anyway, but the number of lies and inconsistencies they told me on the phone pushed them into dishonest territory for me.

    If they'd just said, "Sorry, we can't give you your refund, we've no money to give" I'd still be pi**ed off, but I could just write it off as a bad investment and move on.

    *I did eventual get two of the large locals in for quotes, and they came in about £200 more, while offering their own manufacturing, insurance backed guarantees, long lists of high ratings on various ratings sites, and a willingness to take a credit card for the whole balance. We went with the one down the road from us and they fitted them last week. Very happy so far, just wish I'd called them first.
    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 8th Jan 18, 7:29 PM
    • 3,144 Posts
    • 2,022 Thanks
    Ectophile
    • #4
    • 8th Jan 18, 7:29 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Jan 18, 7:29 PM
    If you have a written contract, it should have the company name, the company registration number and the company's registered address.

    If they aren't present, then you haven't entered into a contract with a company. Instead, it's an individual operating under a trading name. That makes a big difference - you can personally sue the person you paid the money to.

    If you do have the formal company details, you can look them up on the Companies House web site https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/

    The nearest name I can find is WEATHERGUARD ROOFLINE LTD, which was dissolved in 2014.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 8th Jan 18, 11:32 PM
    • 684 Posts
    • 378 Thanks
    Raxiel
    • #5
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:32 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:32 PM
    Thanks, it has the company name and address, but no registration number.

    I've tried that site before and only found the same as you.

    So it sounds like the company owner is liable. It's just down to whether I could trace him for service, and whether I'd actually get any money back that would justify the cost of doing so
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 9th Jan 18, 4:26 PM
    • 10,725 Posts
    • 8,982 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:26 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:26 PM
    It's just down to whether I could trace him for service, and whether I'd actually get any money back that would justify the cost of doing so
    Originally posted by Raxiel
    Taking a claim to court via MoneyClaimOnLine would cost but can be added to your claim. You have dealt with these people so you are in the best position to judge if they would pay up if there was a judgement against them.
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    • 16,075 Posts
    • 12,163 Thanks
    hollydays
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    How could you know that the name of the person( convicted fraudster) belonged the to,the person who had rung you?
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 10th Jan 18, 4:27 PM
    • 684 Posts
    • 378 Thanks
    Raxiel
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:27 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:27 PM
    How could you know that the name of the person( convicted fraudster) belonged the to,the person who had rung you?
    Originally posted by hollydays
    I don't quite follow your question, but here's a timeline:
    I knew the name the first salesman identified himself by (Call him AB)
    AB contacted me again after I paid the deposit and identified himself again as AB, and I remembered him and his voice.
    He gave me the name of the owner of the company (Call him AC), along with his number (which, as it happens, I already had following the gutter installation)
    When I looked into it, I found AB's Facebook page (with his 'current' AB name), as well as his picture. Searching facebook for the company name turned up posts from both AB and a person called AC promoting the company as the 'new kids on the block' etc. Unfortunately I didn't archive any of this and it's since gone.
    Someone from the company called me and said that they'd sacked AB after finding out he was actually called AT, and he had a criminal past that they allegedly didn't know about (apparently a customer recognised him and called).
    Searching for AT on google turned up plenty of articles about him, with pictures. Also after another look at his facebook, although the profile name was AB, the url was facebook.com/therealAT

    On one of the occasion's I got hold of the owner, I addressed him as 'Mr C' and he didn't correct me.

    So I don't have any written evidence that AC is the owner of the company, but I feel it's the most likely situation.

    I don't want to name AB/AT, while there's no doubt he 'dun wrong' in the past, his release from prison means society considers his debt paid for those offences. There's no evidence of wrongdoing in his dealings with me - everything he said has so far proven to be true.

    I suppose I could approach him on Facebook and ask him if he has a serviceable address for AC
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 11th Jan 18, 12:36 PM
    • 4,375 Posts
    • 4,406 Thanks
    DoaM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:36 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:36 PM
    Unfortunately I didn't archive any of this and it's since gone.
    Originally posted by Raxiel
    That doesn't mean the Wayback Machine didn't archive it ... check cachedpages.com or similar.
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 11th Jan 18, 10:47 PM
    • 684 Posts
    • 378 Thanks
    Raxiel
    That doesn't mean the Wayback Machine didn't archive it ... check cachedpages.com or similar.
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Unfortunately the company site isn't on it. And even if I knew the particular permalinks of the Facebook posts, the Wayback machine doesn't index Facebook any more.
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