A REtiree was “devastated” after a cowboy builder cheated her out of £5,000 for a new kitchen – and then ran off after just four days.
Betty Jones, 87, said the dodgy trader left a mess and a broken door that she “frozen” on her way into winter.
After struggling to find a handyman for her kitchen makeover, Betty thought her prayers had been answered when earlier this month a man named “Michael” showed up at her door offering his services.
The 87-year-old from Chingford, London, said she would “normally never” accept help from a rogue trader but felt she could trust him after being offered extra help and a discount.
But the octogenarian said she quickly became suspicious when he showed up with young workers and demanded daily payment of their wages.
Since her kitchen needed to be protected against moisture from the outside, Betty said she was also convinced to let the builder do the job as he said he would do it for a cheaper price than anyone else.
However, that extra work meant the retiree was cheated out of even more money when he persuaded her to spend extra on a “new foundation.”
She told The Sun: “He asked me for an extra £2,000 – but he never did.
“I gave him cash and I know I shouldn’t have, but he was so intimidating.”
Betty said when he first started the job, the mystery shopkeeper was actually “very nice” and would offer to deliver her food during his lunch hour.
But the project quickly went downhill after she refused to continue paying the young workers until more work on her kitchen was done.
She added: “He seemed fine and then he started bringing in a bunch of boys for a day’s wages – so he needed the money right away.
“He kept asking for more money, so I said ‘no, not until you’ve done the job.'”
But on day four of the kitchen makeover, Betty was stunned when she returned from a doctor’s appointment to an empty house, a half-finished kitchen and a living room covered in trash.
“He was just gone,” she said.
“He left plasterboard and plaster bags in my living room and I can’t even pick them up and move them.
“I wanted to come back from the doctors and take his license plate number, but he was already gone. I just wish I had gotten his license plate number now.
“He was just gone. He only did part of the kitchen, nothing else. I was scammed – someone knocked on my door and I just let my guard down.”
‘DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO’
She then desperately tried to get in touch with the cowboy builder, but was devastated to discover that she had been given a fake contact card and had no way of tracing the man or her money.
She said: “He said he had a company but not what it was called. Then I realize that he gave me the wrong card.
“When I came back and he was gone I called those numbers on the card and the people on the other end had never heard of him.”
Betty added that she paid for a door he didn’t supply, and now she has a broken door with a three-inch gap at the bottom that lets in a “freezing” breeze.
“I now have three inches of space under my garden door, and I’ve had to try to stuff it full because of the draft and the cold.”
The 87-year-old, who has now lost thousands of pounds and has filled her living room with kitchen cabinets and plaster bags, is overwhelmed and feels taken advantage of.
He seemed so nice… but then he became so menacing
Betty Jones, 87
“I just don’t know what to do. I want this stuff to come out and I just have to try and move on from what happened to me,” she said.
“I never thought I would be in this situation, but I am just because I’ve let go of my vigilance.
“He didn’t even put the shelves back in my closets — but he kept asking for money.”
The 87-year-old said she doesn’t know her neighbors well and is afraid to ask for help, but fears she is now heading for a somber Christmas with a house full of building clutter.
“I don’t know anyone who could come over and take it.
“He had just left and threw this stuff in my living room, now Christmas is approaching and all I want is for it to be gone.
“I go out every day just because I can’t bear to look into my living room. I don’t like asking for help, but when I see this there’s nothing I can do – it’s awful.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6758189/left-house-broken-door-cowboy-builders-stole-freezing/ I’ve been left with a house full of rubbish and a broken door after cowboy builders stole £5,000 from me – I’m freezing