Susan from Hertfordshire was left unhappy with the spiraling cost of her garden makeover
Last week we came across the story of BBC journalist Susan Bookbinder who was left too scared to leave her own home after a dispute with a builder turned nasty. Unfortunately, Susan's incident isn't isolated, as there seems to be a rising number of 'cowboy builders' operating in the UK who will perform poor-quality work at an over-inflated price, leaving the consumer severely out of pocket along with a highly dissatisfactory end result.
In Susan's instance, it all began with a £3,400 quote for a garden makeover, after the BBC newsreader was left unhappy with previous work carried out on her garden and driveway. However, despite agreeing the initial £3,400 price in order to lay slabs and install decking, this price quickly rose to £7,240 plus an additional £2,000 for materials. Susan reluctantly agreed to pay the extra cost, after the builder admitted he had misjudged the extent of the project. However, the nasty surprises didn't end here as following the completion of the work in August, the builder requested a shocking final bill of £21,500.
Susan explains how "this was over double the revised estimate. I was totally shocked at the final price. However, on the face of it the work looked good. Seeing that I finally had a useable garden and driveway I conceded that the bill was to be paid." Despite agreeing to pay the new price, Susan was horrified when just months later the garden and patio deteriorated, prompting her to ask for a £5,000 refund.
Susan managed to pay £19,000 towards the enormous bill, but within months, the garden and patio deteriorated
Following this reasonable request, Susan received a barrage of abusive emails. However, the matter really came to a head on the 4th of August when the builder visited her home, shouting 'you'll regret this' with CCTV footage showing him banging on her windows and swearing.
Understandably, Susan was left deeply shaken by the ordeal, stating, "my life has been ruined by this guy. All I want is to live a quiet life with my child and to try and sort the issue. As it stands I am constantly on edge. I will never feel safe here again." For the meantime, police are currently interviewing the builder in question, and if there's one lesson to learn from this story, it's the importance of choosing a reputable company to carry out work on your property.
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