My Story - by the...

- Editor -

Several years ago I fell victim to a rogue trader. I think looking back that it played a major part in my desire to be a part of this magazine, because being a victim myself has helped me to connect with other victims of this crime – and it is a crime – never feel that you have been foolish or naïve and that you have brought it on yourself. The blame is not with you, but the person or persons who have scammed you.

 

So cunning are these confidence tricksters and adept and well practiced at what they do, that it isn’t “mugs” that fall for them. Just honest, trusting people who are dealing with a very convincing fraudster.

 

Far from being a typical soft target that these people capitalise on, I was living in a nice property in the Home Counties; middle aged and (I liked to think) quite clued up! The property was my pride and joy, and when I lost a family member and inherited a little money, I decided it would be a fitting tribute to the person I had lost, to invest it in my long term future.

 

Looking back, I made some glaring errors – I asked a neighbour, who I didn’t really know too well, if they knew of anyone that could do a decent job on my kitchen, extending it and modernising it. Now I know for a fact that they weren’t part of the scam, but what they did was say that they may know a friend who would recommend someone. So they asked someone they knew in the local pub, a friend of a friend…..you get the picture!

So the next thing I knew I was dealing with a builder that in my mind anyway, had been recommended by someone with a good knowledge of them. That was good enough for me.

 

After two months of work on the house, with repeated advances for materials and numerous prolonged absences due to anything from ill health to the builder having to take hiatus after “having his tools stolen” (oh, the irony…) I was left with a bill that exceeded the original estimate by nearly four thousand pounds.

 

The work on the kitchen began to deteriorate, unit doors fell off when opened, the sealant on the surfaces leaked and a particularly heavy rainstorm that the new roof couldn’t deal with, left me with an inch of water on the kitchen floor.

 

Of course I made calls to him – at first he was receptive to them, explaining that he would come over and “get it sorted.” After failing to appear he then started ignoring my calls and I never saw him again. As far as chasing him went, I had a mobile number and a hotmail email address and nothing more.

 

Yes, I made mistakes – big ones, but I know I am not the only one, and if any good came from the experience it is that not only will I never make those mistakes again, I have also made it a goal to ensure that others will know what to do if they are in my situation.

 

This story is taken from the latest edition of Business Force Magazine and is just one of many we hear every month. Sharing people's experiences can only help to make us all more aware of the problem so if you have a similar story please contact us.

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