Woman ‘scammed’ out of £3k after ‘builders left decking half finished’
Deborah Wilson from Washington, Tyne and Wear, is speaking out after allegedly being scammed by a father and son duo who left her decking project unfinished and disappeared without a trace. Ms Wilson, a 61-year-old special needs teacher, claims she is now nearly £3,000 out of pocket and unable to contact the pair who took advantage of her trust and vulnerability.
Ms Wilson said: “I’ve thrown so much money down the drain. These people took the opportunity to scam me because they could – because they know I’m a single woman who works away.”
In early July, Ms Wilson reached out to three companies for quotes to have her decking done. She chose the father-son firm, whose have not been named, and paid them upfront a total of £2,800.
She said: “They said it’d all cost £2,200. Then they tried to charge me an extra £600 for materials – wood, screws and plaster.
“I handed it over all at once, just to get it out of the way. I’m so trusting – I should never have done it.”
Facebook messages exchanged between Ms Wilson and the builders confirm the job was agreed upon and specific dates were set for the work to be carried out. However, when the builders arrived on July 7, Ms Wilson noticed the materials they brought seemed used and recycled from previous jobs.
She said: “They brought a bucket of old screws – they looked like they’d been taken from other jobs. They were covered in plaster!
“And the plaster they used was really heavy-duty. But I didn’t say anything, and let them get on with it for about five hours.”
Undeterred by her concerns, Ms Wilson allowed them to continue working for approximately five hours. Plans were made for the builders to return the following day to complete the project. However, on July 8, only one of the builders showed up and worked for a couple more hours before abruptly disappearing.
Ms Wilson’s attempts to contact the builders between July 10 and July 17 were met with promises to “sort something out” on July 18. However, they eventually stopped responding to her messages, and Ms Wilson discovered she had been blocked on Facebook.
Left with no other options, she turned to her local community for help. She posted photos of the half-finished decking on the neighbourhood app Nextdoor, where kind-hearted individuals provided recommendations for timber merchants so she could complete the project herself.
Despite undergoing breast reconstruction surgery in June and being advised by her doctors to avoid any strenuous activity, Ms Wilson took matters into her own hands and spent the remainder of her holiday finishing the decking.
While she has reported the incident to the police in an attempt to retrieve her money, she was informed it is a civil matter. The father-son duo were contacted by SWNS but did not respond.
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