Couple waiting two years for builder to start work after they paid him £6k
PUBLISHED: 06:20 01 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:25 01 August 2020
When Richard and Amanda Wolsey paid a builder £6,000 in June 2018, they hoped it was the beginning of the end of their flooding nightmare.
Rowan Parker, from SDR Building and Home Improvements Ltd, was meant to install a huge tank under their lawn in Worlingham, near Beccles, to store rainwater and stop the flooding.
Instead it was the start of new problems.
For two years, the retired couple have chased Mr Parker to start the work. They were given a series of excuses, from the weather to workers.
Then last month, Mr Wolsey discovered that Mr Parker’s company had gone into liquidation in August last year, meaning they have little hope of getting any money back.
Mr Parker continued to send Mr Wolsey messages up until March this year, assuring him the work would start. He never told them his company was in liquidation, Mr Wolsey said.
“I am not a bad person,” he wrote to them in February.
“I do have your interests at heart and will be doing my best to resolve as soon as feasibly possible.”
But the money was never returned and the job never started.
“It is bitterly disappointing,” Mr Wolsey, 61, said. “It is out of our control and that causes stress.
“Every time we go away we are thinking, what will the rain do? Every time we get rainfall, we are worried.
“We still have stuff spewing out of the drain. We’re going to have to bite the bullet and pay someone else.”
The couple hired Mr Parker after dealing with several floods at their home on Lowestoft Road from 2017 onwards.
In 2018, water flooded the road, driveway, part of their garden and black sludge backed up into their downstairs bathroom through the shower drain, flooding the floor.
“Black liquid was just spewing out,” Mr Wolsey said.
Needing it to be fixed urgently, he contacted Mr Parker who had built a wall for them previously.
They paid him £5900 in May and June 2018 to buy materials and the initial labour.
They wanted him to lay new pipework, change the guttering and fit a large rainwater harvester under their garden. Mr Parker told them he had ordered the rainwater harvester but it has never arrived.
And over the next two years the reasons they would be given for work not starting included; the weather, winter, illness, being let down by digger drivers and finally coronavirus.
In messages from August 2019 to March this year, Mr Wolsey constantly asked for updates.
The week the company was put into liquidation and 14 months after being paid the money, Mr Parker told them: “Am away at mo”.
In January this year, the couple wrote to Mr Parker: “Any reasonable person would have expected the agreed schedule of work to have finished during this time and would have been even more surprised that works have not even begun.
“Ongoing assurances without physical substance makes our bit of building work feel of little or no value...and as you know flooding concerns still cause us significant worry.
“So Rowan if the work cannot be done/started within this next month then please will you arrange to return our funds and we’ll have to make other arrangements.”
He replied: “It has not been my intention to ignore you or not do the intended work.
“I have been let down again by trades (i.e. digger drivers) who say they will come and then don’t.
“I am on my own now with jobs that should have been done months ago. It’s not been easy. I don’t expect sympathy and I understand your grievances.
“I do intend to do the work and I totally appreciate your kindness and understanding.”
He has not replied to their calls or messages since March and in May he was declared bankrupt.
We have attempted to contact Mr Parker for comment.
Jack Walker, from Parker Andrews, who is handling the liquidation said an increasing number of “larger and more complex contracts”, was the reason Mr Parker gave for the failure of the business.
He said: “This led to extended completion dates which, combined with a lack of qualified skills from subcontractors, led to additional work being required in repairs at a cost to the company.
“This subsequently resulted in cash-flow issues for the company due to project deadlines being extended at additional cost to the company.”
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