A STIFFORD Clays councillor has issued a warning to residents about possible bogus workmen in the area,
Cllr Graham Snell said: "This week I have had to intervene in the case of an elderly couple who needed some trees felled in their back garden. They had recently received a flyer through the post about a local tree surgeon and called them in to get a quote.
The company duly arrived and provided a very reasonable estimate and said they could start immediately. The gentleman of the house thought it was a good deal and was pleased the work could be done straight away so he gave the go-ahead.
That’s when the troubles started. Within no time at all the original estimate had ballooned from around Â£600 to over Â£2500 and the tree surgeon started putting pressure on the couple to go and get cash from the ATM straightaway, Â£500 in cash was given to them but it was deemed nowhere near enough. The couple felt very intimidated, the workmen constantly harangued them for money and, even at 6pm, were telling the couple that there was still time to get to the bank. In the end, only half of the agreed work was done and the tree surgeon left, saying he would be back in the morning to complete the work and collect an additional Â£2000 in cash.
This is where I came in. I was going to to have a conversation with them about their trading practices and what i thought of them but, upon seeing my Council ID, they sped off quickly and, during a phone call to the gentleman of the house shortly after, explained that he thought I was trading standards. After a little negotiation, the trader agreed to keep the Â£500 he had been paid already and would not be seeking any more money, neither would he be doing any more work at the property. I have reported my concerns to trading standards and I am sure they will follow up on this case.
I would like to make all Thurrock residents aware that there are some suspect traders at large in our Borough. Please ensure that you fully research your choice of tradesman, no matter what field they are in.
"Please do get more than one quote and absolutely do not let anybody do any work without getting the estimate for the job in writing. Please do ask for their credentials, do they belong to any trade associations? do they have the appropriate insurances? These are questions that any reputable tradesman will be happy to answer. Above all please do not let any tradesman pressurise you into letting them start straight away, you are the customer and you dictate when any work is done, not them.
Finally, always remember that there are people who can help you if things go wrong, after all your local Councillor is only a phone call away.