The pensioner charged £6,298.74 after asking a handyman to fix a simple leak – your rights with rogue traders
I haven’t written a rogue trader story for a while but when Mary wrote to me this week I knew it was a story that should be pursued.
Mary, who is 67, called in a local handyman to fix a leak under her sink and to look at her front door as it was difficult to close.
That handyman was Mark, who came out to her property to inspect what needed to be done. After his inspection, he said it was an easy job and that he’d deal with both the leak and the front door issue the next day. As promised he came out the next day with another young man to do the work.
After starting Mark informed Mary there was a much bigger problem with the plumbing. He explained that he had fixed the leak but that the other plumbing issues needed to be dealt with. He also said that after inspecting the plumbing around the house he had noticed many other major issues needing urgent attention.
Then Mark explained he was about to start a very big job for the local council, as he was in high demand. But he stressed he really wanted to help Mary and to finish the job. So he proposed popping in whenever he could in order to rectify the issues “a bit at a time”.Worried Mary felt she had no alternative but to accept. So she did so gratefully. Mark handed her a bill for £49.99 for repairing the leak, which Mary paid on the spot.
She told me she was pleasantly surprised as it was lower than she had expected.
For the next 14 months, Mark and his young sidekick frequently turned up at Mary’s house but for no more than one hour each time. Trusting Mary simply left them to their work so she has no idea what they did on each occasion.
Last week the horror story was revealed. Mark called at Mary’s house and handed her an invoice – for £6,298.74. It stated that it was for 126 call outs at £49.99 each!
I’ve written to Mark and told him this is not on. No price was agreed and in these circumstances, Section 51(2) of the Consumer Rights Act says Mary has to “pay a reasonable price for the service and no more”.
Mary is now getting a reputable trader to discover what work Mark and his fellow cowboy actually did. Then we’ll assess what that “reasonable” amount should be. I’m reasonably sure it won’t be a lot!
News source: Dean Dunham, The Mirror