Sunday, 5 August 2012

Copy of email sent to

Dear Cowboy Builders

I am a 23 year old disabled woman living with my partner who is 26 and we recently came into contact with what you would describe as a COWBOY “BUILDER”.
I hired the company “Batley Builders” who also go by the name of “A&Z Home Improvements” the ringleader and main builder goes by the name or Eric and is Polish.  They claim to be “Refurbishment Specialists” and aside from a stunning website, they haven’t got much else going for them.  They contacted me privately after I posted an add on MyHammer.
I was originally told a 5 man team would do my kitchen in 8-12 days.  He assured me that he had a qualified electrician and gas man and plumber in the team along with kitchen fitter, tiler and the list goes on.  He went home and sent me through an invoice (via email, I still have it) for all the work I wanted doing at the cost of £2000 and said to pay him AFTER each section was completed.  He started on Monday 9th of July and he and another builder Neil finished the work on 31st July over at 14 days period.  Working 9am – 3pm most working days.  After each process step he had his money and kept insisting he would send me a receipt when he got home and always with the excuses why he hadn’t done the receipt yet (more fool me, but the stress of being disabled and in a bomb site didn’t leave me with a thinking head on).
I felt throughout the whole process that he did not listen to me, he charged me extra money for jobs he’d done and my grandparents who had originally gave me the money to have a new kitchen and we just wanted the job to be done, smart and safe.  Although the demolishing of the chimney breast went well I am not happy with the metal strips supporting the top half of the chimney stack which he insisted was ok spite he originally said the £700 for the chimney removal included an RSJ.  The plastering was done and with the exception of the support I was happy with the kitchen thus far.  When he started putting the kitchen in there was a mass of upset because he cut into the wrong cupboards, he wouldn’t listen to me, we ended up paying for a new cupboard due to him causing so much upset that between us we ruined a cupboard.  I spent several hours drawing up a plan of the kitchen only for him to pretty much please himself.  We spent money on huge 8by4foot flooring and he broke it all up into 2by3 foot flooring.  He is not an electrician and all the electrical sockets are a foot hired than I asked and not on straight.  The tiling is a mess.  The flooring is not cut or fitted.  The plinths are not on right and at the end of these 3 very long stressful weeks I just wanted him gone so I could have my house back and start cleaning up the masses of mess (brick and plaster dust all over my house).  He used the skip we hired for materials off site.  But all in all I just wanted to get on with my life as a disabled person.  And he refit our gas oven (spite not being a gas man either) and claimed “if there is a gas leak you will smell it” which was no reassurance at all.  He also took some of the kitchen hardware from my home with him, which in my opinion is steeling!  There is much more than just this long list of upset, as I said I paid him because I wanted him gone, and in truth the above is not why I am contacting you!

On Friday 3rd August around 12.20pm I was laying down sheets on the floor ready for painting over the weekend when a triple wall unit fell and smacked me on the head!  Breaking my glasses (which means I can’t see properly!) and giving me a serious concussion.  Thankfully it was me and not next doors little boy; who comes in through our kitchen (at will and often) and/or that it wasn't full of glasses and crockery especially my new dinner set!  
However the point is that it just fell (a double and a single wall unit) I wasn't touching it I just happened to hear a noise and next thing I know my glasses are broken on the floor, the kitchen cabinets are smashed on the floor, my head seriously hurt, I felt paint, faint and dizzy and to be honest shacking with shock and felt sick.  I don't actually remember it happening nor do I remember the first maybe 5 minutes after everything just went dark and blurry!  I tried to calm down and phoned my Grandparents to come over, while waiting for them I rang  I rang the builder and explained (while shook up in shock etc) what had just happened and he said "I am in Manchester there is nothing I can do, I will phone you at 7 and come over late tonight."  My Grandparents rushed me to A&E with an ice-pack, I was seen straight away and the Doctor said I am seriously lucky not to have cracked my skull and lucky that I was wearing my glasses or I could have lost an eye not to mention coma, stroke, blood clots or anything more serious than a bump, scratch, bruise and concussion.  
Unsurprisingly Eric did not phone me at 7 when he said he would, and so from 7.20 I was calling him constantly for over an hour (with no answer) and so at 8.42 I wrote him an email requesting payment of £781.99 for new wall units plus delivery, replacement of my glasses, a skip and a builder to install the new wall units properly and reinstall wall units on the other wall just to be safe.  I said this in hope that we could settle it out of court and hopefully move on with our lives.

Yesterday my partner removed the broken kitchen cupboards after we took photos of the state they were in simply due to we needed access to and through the kitchen.  Upon removing the units and broken wood etc, we discovered that there is 1 or 2 wall mounts actually missing!!  The single unit was only held up by PVA glue to the side of the double unit.  The three units have been mounted on plaster board and not longer screws through to the brick behind it.  

Tonight I have heard back from him Sunday 5th August 2012 at 8.16pm here is what he said Dear Imogen, 
I don t understand your email and calls. It seems like you don t want to pay for my labour. I would say your grandparents give you money and you want to keep it for yourself. I just want to remind you that all the jobs been checked and the quality was to your satisfaction. Now you are saying you are disappointed. It seems like you had an accident when been doing painting.

 Anyway as agreed I’m waiting for my money outstanding balance of £2000 till this Friday then will past to debit Collection Company.


When I phoned him as he has had his money he has had both my house number and mobile number blocked from being able to contact his mobile.  I have emailed him back to inform him that I am going to my solicitor in the morning along with trading standards and anyone else that will listen to me.

 I do have pictures from each day of work in an online personal blog that I keep which the world can access and see.  I also kept notes of when I’d paid him and what I’d paid him awaiting the receipts that never showed.  He is now claiming that I have not paid him any money and threatening that if I do not pay him by Friday the he will be sending debt collectors round.  I don’t know what to do, he’s had his money but with no receipts and witnesses other than my partner and the two builders I haven’t much of a leg to stand on.  Please help me.

Basically Eric is a builder, plasterer, plumber, electrician, gas man, kitchen fitter, floor fitter, tiler and the list goes on – none of which I believe.  I believe he is a poor builder perhaps even a cowboy builder.  I believe he has been neglectful to both us and our property, as said there is much more than what this email contains!  I believe he is a conman and he NEEDS to be stopped.  
Thank you for your time
Miss Imogen Cane (and Mr Joshua Thompson)
Barnsley, South Yorkshire
01226 {removed due to privacy on blog}
{removed due to privacy on blog}

Even if you can help, some advice would go a long way as I am clutching at straws.  I am still not well from the incident and being that I am disabled, and he has taken full advantage of that, I am not in a position to cope with this situation. 

Eric’s details.
A&Z Home Improvements (and/or) Batley Builders
Refurbishment Specialists
Tel: 01924 359750
Mob: 07898954370

They claim to have over 25 years of experience in England, Poland, Spain and Germany.
They claim a fully insured all works are warranted (not seen head nor tail of this)

I am still waiting on receipts and now he’s claiming I’ve never paid and that the incident was due to my greed for money and neglect when painting.  Which is totally incorrect.  As said please help.

- If you wanted to ream through Home: Kitchen blog entries then

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