Robert Marsland's driveway
A Wishaw man has been left with a £4600 repair bill – after cowboy builders smashed up his driveway and then demanded payment up front to rectify the damage.
Robert Marsland of Kilmeny Crescent in Coltness was left furious when a company calling themselves Premier Contracts reneged on an agreement to monoblock his drive.
Irate Robert (59) watched on in horror last Thursday morning as his hopes of a dream driveway turned into a dirt track disaster.
Now he wants to warn fellow Wishaw residents to be on their guard against the underhand tactics of the East Kilbride-based firm who describe themselves as “driveway specialists”.
Robert explained: “I had someone come round last week cold calling and asking if I’d like my drive monoblocked for a very competitive price. I said that at some point in the future I would, but not at the moment as I’d just spent a lot of money having the house rewired.
“A short time later another man, who introduced himself as the foreman called and said he could do it for £2300.
“He also said he’d spoken to his boss who’d agreed that I could pay after Christmas.
“He seemed very pleasant, plausible and knowledgeable and gave me no reason to doubt the authenticity of his offer, so, after discussing it with my wife, we agreed to go ahead.”
The following morning the foreman returned to Robert’s Kilmeny Crescent home with a team of six men.
Robert continued: “I was impressed by their promptness but became a bit suspicious when they began smashing all my existing slabs with sledgehammers. I thought they must know what they’re doing so let them get on with it.”
However, the endeavour soon hit the buffers when the work stopped and the foreman delivered an unexpected ultimatum to Robert.
He went on: “The guy told me there was a problem. He now wanted the money up front and wouldn’t continue until I gave him £2300.
“Obviously this triggered alarm bells with me and I told him in no uncertain terms that I’d be paying nothing until the job was complete as agreed.
“He then told me that it was out of his hands and that I’d need to speak to his boss and they took off, leaving my driveway resembling a war zone and the pavement outside covered in mud and rubble.”
Robert phoned the firm’s ‘boss’ but was told the same thing: “pay up front or we’re doing no more”.
When we contacted the company on the number Robert gave us the man who answered confirmed they were called Premier Contracts, but quickly hung up when we began asking questions about their working practices.
Robert said: “I think it’s disgraceful that someone runs a business in such a despicable way. They obviously thought I’d just pay up but there’s absolutely no way that I’ll give them a penny.
“I’ve been left with an eyesore and a real inconvenience but at least I didn’t part with any cash.
“If I had there’s no doubt in my mind that as soon as the money was handed over they would have been off like a shot leaving me in the lurch and more than £2000 out of pocket.”
Robert has since spoken with a reputable company who told him that it will cost £4600 to do the job properly and that there’s no way the work should be carried out during the winter months.
Robert added:“Ultimately it’s going to end up costing me quite a bit more than I initially expected but at least it’ll be done properly and I’ll have peace of mind.
“The work can’t be done until the spring but I’m getting some slabs laid in the meantime.”
PC Bill Ballatyne of Wishaw police said: “We are working very hard within North Lanarkshire to stop bogus caller crimes.
“If you have concerns regarding the validity or legitimacy of any person who attends your home address offering any kind of service without being invited to do so I would suggest you should call Police or Trading Standards.
“Do not entertain anyone who attends your door pretending that something is wrong with your property as you will know before anyone if something needs attending to.
“If you suspect anyone who may be involved in this type of activity then please call the police or Crimestoppers and report them. The Police along with Trading Standards are taking a very dim view on this type of crime and you can expect them to come down hard on anyone operating in this way.”