Cold calling roofer - bill went from €60 to €5,100

Gremla

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Normally, I don't entertain door-knocking tradesmen, but, seeing a van at my neighbours (people I consider wise), I trusted the guy when he knocked at my door, offering to clean my gutters for €60. This he did, after he informed me my roof pointing needed replacing, showing me tile in the guttering. This would cost €160, to which I agreed. He then informed me I needed to have the space between my gable fascia and tiles refilled, at a cost of €270,( for one side only, as I was unwilling to pay him €600 for both sides). He then discovered the timber under the gable fascia had wet rot, but he said I would only need one side done, as he was 90% certain the other side was ok. I agreed on a price of €2,100 for this.

He arrived next day, complete with 4 more men, one of whom was an extremely convincing character, all charm and chat, but probably someone who would not like confrontation. This guy showed me that the timber on the other gable side was rotten, and also some of the timber on the back of the house, which would cost me another €3,000. I pointed out to him that the timber on the back looked ok, but he insisted that there was rot in it. When I pointed out that the pvc could be reused, he said he would replace it with soffit with extra ventilation, something which I saw no evidence of in the finished work. He tried to convince me I would not need any insulation in my attic, as he was installing a plastic strip at the eaves, labouring the point that I was getting this "free"!

My suspicions that I was being taken for a fool were confirmed at that point, but, I'm afraid, my assertiveness skills are non-existent. I ended paying out €5,150, for what amounted to 10 hours work. In addition, I paid cash, as he would charge me V.A.T. otherwise. I've since done some research, and I'm fairly certain I was overcharged. I don't even know whether they've done quality work. The van has only the guy's first name, plus "roofing and building repairs". He claims to live in Johnstown, Navan.

On arriving at the door, he claimed to be on page 85 of the Golden Pages. I subsequently found out he had the same line for my neighbour, but neither of us could find his name in the book. I've learned my lesson, never to accept work without getting 4 quotes from reputable companies. My neighbours and I are women, with limited knowledge of this kind of work.
 

gianni

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567
I ended paying out €5,150, for what amounted to 10 hours work. In addition, I payed cash, as he would charge me V.A.T. otherwise.
Did you think that this work would be VAT exempt?


That aside, contact your local Garda station and tell them the full story. They will not be interested that you tried to dodge paying VAT. They will investigate and try to locate this individual. It is likely he is doing similar all around the area. It is clear that you have been taken advantage of. The loss of the money is a bitter pill but I wouldn't feel too embarrassed about being tricked. These con men are very skillful and it is not just women that they prey on.

A good lesson for us all, though, never entertain any unsolicited callers to your door who are trying to make you part with money. A firm but polite, no thanks - not interested, should be used every time. If you are concerned about security you could answer the door with a cordless phone in hand and let on that you are talking to someone on it. It will allow you to not engage fully with the door caller and also let them think that the person on the end of the phone is aware that there is someone on the doorstep.
 

monagt

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Normally, I don't entertain door-knocking tradesmen
That was good advice..............better of with a recommended supplier or one with a "premises" and preferably local.

My father used to say,
Buy in Haste, Repent at Leisure
 

Gremla

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4
The issue of VAT did not enter my mind. I assumed the price given was inclusive of everything. I also assumed my neighbours had called him to do work, but I learned later he knocked on their door. I was taken in by a false sense of security.
 

elcato

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3,233
On arriving at the door, he claimed to be on page 85 of the Golden Pages.
This is a regular line with these people. Once they mention Golden Pages do not entertain. Sorry to hear about this but do report it to the Gardai. For future reference, ask them for a card and references. That will do the trick to get rid of them.
 

fraggle

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271
Life lesson, money gone. Forget about it.

If he has been messing with your roof timbers, then if I was you I would be getting somebody else in to ensure that your roof is structurally sound.
 

Leo

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10,429
That aside, contact your local Garda station and tell them the full story. They will not be interested that you tried to dodge paying VAT. They will investigate and try to locate this individual.
The Gardai can do nothing here, there's no evidence of a crime having been committed. Issues between tradesmen and customers are a civil matter, so any action would have to be taken by the OP through the courts. Similar was happening around my area last year where the elderly were being targeted, the Gardai advised issuing flyers so as to warn others off, but there was little else they could do.

That unfortunately would be a waste of time as there is no evidence of a contract being entered into to prove there was anything wrong here.

Paying cash so as not to pay VAT is tax avoidance, now that is covered under criminal law, the courts would have little sympathy.
 

seanie08

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13
Cold calling so called Tradesmen, are never what they seem to be. The people that used to be into Tarmacadam have now moved into Guttering and PVC.
I could write a book on it. They start off by finding something small wrong then the job multiplies by thousands.
There are enough genuine tradesmen about, the best way to find one is by word off mouth.
 

Sandals

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I am aware of a situation where a man popped into a house after seeing a large pile of bedding plants at the boot of a car in the driveway...ended up doing €390 cash of "work" around the garden in three hours and had coffee and a sandwich also....vulnerable female also....

reported to gardai but nothing could be done at that stage...
 

monagt

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They start off by finding something small wrong then the job multiplies by thousands.
Do not let strangers up on your roof, cases in the UK and US it was shown in a documentary that these people can deliberately cause damage that you then have to pay them to repair.

Programs on "Cowboy Builders" in the UK TV show how they prey on innocents.
 

Gremla

Registered User
Messages
4
Yes, they have damaged tiles, and left some, apparently rotten, timber exposed under soffit. However, my attempts at contact, through two landlines and one mobile, have shown them to be out of service. All this, after I had been assured of a ten year guarantee and follow-up service free of charge. I'm now awaiting rain, to see if there are leaks.
 

pricilla

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So you had five thousand euro cash to hand over, that is unbelievable. I am sorry his happened to you.
 

Branz

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The MO here is to use a landline number for the initial contact and when the guards do follow up the girl in the office says she knows nothing.
Just another reason for stopping unregistered mobile numbers
 

postman pat

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Yes it is well known in my area a convoy of vans come over the county bounds from Kerry to Cork city most mornings cold calling to estates etc.. they concentrate on one estate at a time get into one house and then they call to the neighbours saying they are doing a job for Mr X ..they get more work that way.
I know someone that was caught in this way and done some research,The people doing this are mostly traveller gangs and are known to use intimidation if a person confronts them on their tactics.
Never give work to anyone cold calling is the answer no matter how plausible they sound.
 

serotoninsid

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1,760
Never give work to anyone cold calling is the answer no matter how plausible they sound.
I can't understand how ALL cold calling isn't outlawed - surely it's a no brainer? Was there ever anything good sold on the doorstep? Furthermore, perhaps there was a need back in the day but in this age - if people need a good or service, isn't it easier than ever to find same of their own volition?
 

Gremla

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4
I assumed the door-knocker to be from Cork, but he said he was from Listowel. However, one of the others was definitely from Kerry, with a TN registered van.
 

postman pat

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332
Sounds like the same people...they are doing this with quite a long time,they still taking people in though!
 

BilliamD75

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Anybody can become a builder /roofer no qualifications needed. When dealing with roofers even one with a recommendation , simply start by asking for a copy of there public/employers/products liability insurance, a cover note will surfice, if they Do not have a copy with them or even evidence via an email then send them on there way no exception. After this stage ask them to photograph the damaged part of the roof on their phone/ipad and what works are required and how much it will cost. Never agree straight away unless it's an emergency, when you give the roofer the go ahead tell them you want photographic evidence of the works carried out before payment can be made. Never agree to cash payment get an invoice, yes it is more expensive however its worth it , the registered address will be on their insurance details as it may be your only recourse in case of a dispute . Never never give a payment even partial up front, all the good roofers would most likely have credit facilities with their suppliers, if not that is their problem not yours, it helps to weed out the cowboys and there are plenty of them.
 

sidzer

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122
Good tradesmen don't rap on doors looking for work - you have to knock on their door and wait your turn!

This sort of stuff drives me mad - If that happened to my mother I'd be looking for blood!

I had a very unpleasant expereince about 15 years ago with a crowd offering paving service in Cork. I was renting a room from a widow woman who agreed to get her drive paved by a group who were in her estate. 5 minutes after she agreed to the work they had her old concrete drive ripped up and sitting in a heap! Absolutely no time to rethink - if she had of told her sons no doubt they would have advised against. After a very mediocre handyman standard they came looking for the money. They were looking for more than was originally agreed. She called me in to her kitchen in the middle of one of the many heated exchanges - 'as a witness'. He said that he could have me shot! I know people often say things like that in a throwaway manner - but I believed him. They ended up getting what they wanted and she got a lot of hassle and a very shoddy new drive with gaps that you could run your fingers through - filled with sand that washed out after a bit of rain.
3 brothers.....

There needs to be very srong laws against this kind of intimidation of the elderly - as a society we are failing if we can't protect our pensioners in their twilight years
 
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