Gardening Scams

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Cornishman, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Cornishman

    Cornishman Registered User

    May 27, 2013
    Hello everyone. Long time away from the site but appreciate advice and help from the past. My mother passed away from Alzheimer's almost 4 years ago and the family still has an ongoing legal case about withdrawal of her CHC eligibility for the last year of her life with the CCG so took a step back from fighting the case, hence my prolonged absence.

    This posting is more about me and a bit of a tight spot I've got myself into. The link to this site is a similar thing happened to my mum almost 20 years ago just after my dad died and mum was showing the early stages of not coping with the everyday routines of living at home alone, which transpired to be dementia soon afterwards.

    In short, in 1998 she was scammed by a traveller community "gardener" and charged £400 to remove two smallish plum trees. I discovered she had been driven to the bank to get the money by this person. It was horrible but fortunately nothing more came of it, mainly I think because I rushed around and told him to leave and although the police were informed, not much more could be done.

    Now bringing things up to date, I have just had a sleepless night after possibly being scammed by the travelling community, and I fear they might be coming back to extort money and I'm really worried and wondered if anyone could kindly give me some advice please. I already feel stupid BTW.

    In short, I wanted 2 big hedges cut and the recommended local gardeners just wouldn't show up despite emails and phone calls. On Wednesday a chap knocked on the door and asked if I needed any work done. I had already agreed with the neighbour to share costs, and it was quite a big task. So after the chap quoted £250 including removal of all waste, I agreed. Payment on completion.

    3 of them worked that afternoon and yesterday morning (Thursday) for a total of about 3 hours. When finished, he said it was £250 per side, making £500, double the agreed amount. After a "discussion" I had to threaten to call the police, which had some affect as they left. Later I found most of the waste hidden in the next door neighbours garden (the house is empty and being sold) plus my other neighbour's garden waste bin (not happy!) and then discovered a massive bag of waste left on the pavement outside.

    Before they left they made me sign a piece of paper including name and address with work shown on it and a figure of £250 which I paid there and then in cash (yes...I know!).

    But here's my real worry - the paper has three tick boxes on the top: invoice, estimate or contract. The contract one was ticked. I fear the next part of the scam is to send an "invoice" for work done under the "contract" (hence why name and address) and they'll be back for more money as I can't prove I paid the cash.

    The travelling community can be intimidating and I've been awake all night scared of the possibilities.

    I know I've been stupid but it shows how easy it can be to get reeled in.

    I haven't told my neighbour who's sharing the cost - the work is actually ok, just.

    Should I ring 101 and tell the police, the LA trading standards or contact Citizen's Advice please? Very grateful for any thoughts. They might not ever come back of course, but I won't know that for several days or even weeks and I'd like the reassurance I'm not on my own and have someone supporting me on my side should they try.

    Administrators - please delete if not appropriate, but thought I'd turn to this website's forums as needed to talk to someone about it. Many thanks.
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Nothing lost by phoning 101 and explaining the situation. The police will then be alerted to what is going on and might have a word with them or at least advise you. They didn’t stick to their “contract” anyway so nothing to worry about there.
  3. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Hello @Cornishman

    My dad was targeted by the traveller community last October. They went for his roof, not his garden.

    I phoned the local police and they took the matter very seriously. They kept an eye out for them coming back to collect the unpaid money they had demanded from dad (demanded £400 got only £40) for the roof repairs which didn't need doing.

    The police said that dad's scammers would either be back within 24 hours or not at all, as they know that it's likely that the police will be informed after the "victim" has had time to think about it.

    As marionq said, phone the police and let them know what's happened then write "paid in full" on the invoice and try not to worry.
  4. Cornishman

    Cornishman Registered User

    May 27, 2013
    Thank you. I have taken your advice and the police were very understanding and professional. They've taken details plus descriptions and will alert the neighbourhood police so they can keep an eye out. They further advised that although strictly a civil matter at this stage, to contact them straightaway if the people return, using 999 if feeling threatened or intimidated.

    Feeling better thanks to your kind interest and reassurance from police. Many thanks.
  5. Cornishman

    Cornishman Registered User

    May 27, 2013
    Thank you ever so much - the kindness of response here restores faith that most people are good people. You might see my other reply which indicates reassuring response from police. Feel better after long night worrying - the night can be a lonely place. Very grateful for your interest which I appreciate thank you
  6. BIWO

    BIWO Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    Hi - I live in a village where we regularly get targetted for this sort of thing. I work from home and amazed the number of 'casuals' knocking on the door, during the day. I got 'online' one of those notices you stick in the door, which state you don't buy from the doorstep- this seems to have cut it down alot. We also have a local village FB site where people report 'suspect' people or vans and ring 101 (we have alot of thefts during the day and at night). Details are circulated around local villages and every now and then one of these suspects get rounded up. Might be worth looking to see if you have a local community FB which you can link into. (I too have been 'caught' in the past by someone doing work and trying to scam me - so you would not be the only one)
  7. Cornishman

    Cornishman Registered User

    May 27, 2013
    Thank you. Yes there is a local parish FB site so worth relating my experience if only to warn others that the "agreed" price will almost certainly increase for some contrived reason.

    Since my last post I've also informed local trading standards who said rogue traders are top of their list of priorities because of the vulnerable.
  8. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    Not a gardening scam,still a scam

    Door bell goes, answer door, man says not trying to sell windows or roofline but do I want my PVC windows cleaning, I say no, he offers leaflet and I say it's a waste of your money it's going straight in bin.
    He then moves towards window and opens a bag of tricks, I tell him I don't want him to do anything, he was obviously going to make a very clean patch on my not so clean PVC.

    He carries on putting paste on cloth and I obstruct him, I said he could carry a scrap bit of PVC to use for a demonstration and then given me a quote.
    He then goes away muttering about unreasonable people and having to make a living.
  9. Cornishman

    Cornishman Registered User

    May 27, 2013
    Just a quick update one week later.

    Nothing further came of it as some on here predicted thank you.

    Big lesson learnt and the annoying thing is I consider(ed!) myself too worldly wise to be drawn in.

    The irony in all of this is that they did an acceptable job and for the original quote (not the later enhanced one!), not an unreasonable price either.

    Grateful for responses and glad I had a reasonable outcome in the end.

    Thank you
  10. Laura40

    Laura40 Registered User

    Dec 10, 2017
    I think my OH being scammed was one of the warning signs for me about his dementia so all threads like this are very useful here.
    My OH was convinced our roof tiles needed fixing and cementing and that they would save him a fortune. Unfortunately this all happened whilst I was out at work a couple of years ago. I couldn't believe he'd been so gullible at the time. £500 pound down the drainpipe!
    It started with a guy knocking on the door and for a very reasonable price offering to clean out the guttering, whilst up there he spotted these ' issues.' And very kindly fixed them!
  11. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    I have worried about this kind of scam as we have a community of travellers not far from dads house and they have been known to scam the elderly in our town but dad had some Jehovah's at the door recently and I was most impressed with the way he saw them off.

    Dad may not be at his sharpest at the moment but he was having none of that old rubbish (his words)
  12. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    My mum's stock answer to all such callers is "oh, you'd have to talk to my sons about that. They deal with anything that needs doing for me." And thankfully, my husband used to just say "you have to talk to my wife." no matter who called or phoned!
  13. Angela57

    Angela57 Registered User

    Jan 22, 2016
    My mum kept taking insurances out for her sky equipment because she got calls saying her insurance had run out, I kept having to cancel them when I saw new direct debits appear on her bank statements. Also, for quite a while she used to phone and reply to junk mail coming through the post saying she'd won something costing her an absolute fortune for premium call charges.

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