Couple cheated of £80k
A ROGUE builder charged an elderly couple £20,000 for unneeded work and then demanded they pay another £60,000.
It started with a knock on the door from a friendly builder who said there was a loose tile on the roof. Two months later the couple from South Bucks were £20,000 poorer.
The wife, referred to as Mrs L to hide her identity, says they were going through a vulnerable time
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They were helped by their building society’s staff who became suspicious when they asked for a cheque for £40,000 payable to the builder.
When he came to collect and realised the society was sending a representative around, he suddenly made his excuses and left, never to be seen again.
But not before a loose roof tile had turned into guttering replacement, fascia board renewal and damp course repairs, and the placement of eir crazy paved aths with block aving stones. nd in the midst f all this he iscovered’ the rains were in a ad way. Mrs L
“It was a very vulnerable time for us.
“We lost our son unexpectedly, and my husband wasn’t well.
“If my husband had been his usual self, we would have queried it, but we just said ‘go ahead’.”
When the work was finished, and the couple had given him cheques worth £20,000, the builder said he wanted another £60,000.
Mrs L knew they had no more than £20,000 in the bank, so she visited their building society to draw £40,000 from savings.
“We must have been mad,” said Mrs L. “It was when the building society stepped in and the police and Trading Standards got involved, that we couldn’t believe it had all happened.”
The quality of the work was good, according to Trading Standards officer Tim Day, but estimated to be only £5,000.
Her experience was three years ago. Mr L has since died and a neighbour has kept an eye on Mrs L. Trading Standards officers have kept her updated about progress on the investigation.
Mr nd Mrs L were erted to the cam by building ociety staff