Category Archives: Wall of Shame

Train4TradeSkills News: The Plumber that couldn’t play by the rules

A plumber has been caught out and fined for misleading a customer that he was legally registered and for carrying out faulty work in people’s homes.

HVP Magazine reports that Janusz Mazur, 34, from Lambeth, was fined after incorrectly installing a new boiler and pipework in a customer’s home.

Mr Mazur was found to have pretended to be a Gas Safe-registered engineer when he was not and never had been one. He was found to have breached Regulations 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 and was fined a total of £600 with £1994 costs.

Not only did Mr Mazur lie to the customer about being registered, he could have potentially harmed the customer by installing the boiler wrong. Gas safety defects with the potential to cause harm were found to be present, and this was a real hazard.

Paul Johnston, the chief executive of Gas Safe Register, had this to say:

“Gas fitters working unregistered like Janusz Mazur are far more common than you think; we estimate they’re doing 250,000 illegal jobs each year, causing fires, explosions, gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and leaving people out of pocket.”

And that’s why it’s important to not let rogue plumbers and gas fitters like this into your home, and just ASK. That’s the name of a new campaign by the NICEIC to clamp down on rogue tradesmen and ASK them for ID and proof they are qualified before they come into your home.

As for you Mr Mazur, you are going onto Train4TradeSkills News’ Wall of Shame. Read similar stories from rogue tradesmen on the Wall of Shame here.



Train4TradeSkills News: Electricians gone bad

An electrical firm have been caught out by BBC’s Rogue Traders after being found to have overcharged customers for carrying out basic electrical jobs.

The Kent-based electricians were secretly filmed carrying out electrical jobs that the Rogue Traders team had deliberately caused in “customers” (actors) homes.

The first incident took place in Ealing, where the electrician was called out to fix a cooker switch with a loose connection. 2 hours later (15 minutes of which he spent on his phone time-wasting) and the job was “done” – at a cost of £203.

Apart from it wasn’t done, as the electrician had removed the earth cable from the back box, and used wood screws to reattach the fitting. Which basically means that he took the problem and made it even worse.

Next up, the Rogue Traders team filmed an electrician from the same company (a different person this time), at a different house. All he had to do was fix a problem in the consumer unit, which should have taken about half an hour.

After messing about with live wires for an hour and 45 minutes and using an excuse of a “burnt out cable” – the problem was fixed – at a cost of £156.

So why were these electricians taking so long and charging so much just to fix basic electrical faults? Simple, because they were being told to.

An undercover electrician was filmed being told to drag jobs out for 2-3 hours when they could have been fixed in minutes, all to charge the customer more and make more money. The sub-contractor were also told to buy extra parts (in this case a new RCD) to add to bill.

Unacceptable? Definitely. But while this case shows the dangers of rogue traders in terms of ripping off customers, it also highlights the naivety of some customers.

In one instance, the Rogue Traders team spoke to a customer who was charged £384 BEFORE the work was carried out. While you can say how much did the company know how to charge before fixing the fault and how long it would take, why did the homeowner agree to pay it before the job had been done.

That’s why the NICEIC have launched the new A.S.K campaign – to ask to see tradesmen’s accreditation and keep an eye on what they are doing in your home, in order to clamp down on rogue tradesmen.

We wrote about the new A.S.K campaign on Train4TradeSkills News this week, and that’s why the NICEIC’s campaign is so important – to stop companies like the one Rogue Traders featured from being able to charge customers for work they simply are not doing.

Read the full report on the BBC Rogue Traders website here.

Electricians – what do you think of this? Let us know and comment below or join in the debate and share your thoughts on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page.

Train4TradeSkills News: NICEIC launch new campaign to clamp down on rogue traders

The NICEIC have launched a new campaign to clamp down on rogue traders and teach homeowners all about the dangers that rogue tradesmen can do in their home.

The UK’s leading voluntary regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry has teamed up with Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding to create the A.S.K campaign – Ask for NICEIC.

The premise is simple: the campaign is to urge homeowners to check if a tradesman working in their homes is fully-qualified, with the right company logos – and to find out by A.S.K-ing them.

Research from the NICEIC has found that only 2 in 10 homeowners – or 19% – of homeoweners would ask, without hesistation – to see a tradesman’s ID when they arrive at the door. 34% of the people asked even admitted they don’t check at all that the tradesman is qualified.

The NICEIC’s Tony Cable said:

“It’s a great shame that some trades people think they can trick homeowners by wrongly using a company logo, but sadly this is reality. Our survey clearly shows that consumers still aren’t checking and double checking ID despite being scrupulous when it comes to other areas of their life.

“Our message is simple – ASK and double check, always find out for yourself that the tradesman at your door is who they say they are. By not checking out a tradesman, consumers could be inviting in a rogue and costing themselves a fortune if a bodged job needs to be put right.”

Rogue or cowboy traders cost the UK economy a fortune each year, by ripping customers off or carrying out unnecessary work in people’s homes. The NICEIC have found that £3.7 BILLION has been spent to repair botched jobs over the last five years, and over 6.2 million people have fallen victim to rogue traders in that time.

Rav Wilding comments:

“It’s absolutely vital that homeowners are checking and double checking the ID of any tradesman who comes to their door – this is the only way to keep their home and family safe and protected from rogues.

And that’s why it’s important to A.S.K if a tradesmen is fully qualified and accredited. What do you think of the NICEIC’s campaign?Let us know and comment below or join in the debate on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook Page.

Train4TradeSkills News: The Curse of the “Local” Plumbing Firm

BBC’s Rogue Traders have caught out a plumbing and drainage firm, who were found that have drastically overcharged customers for unblocking drains.

The “local family-run business” were secretly filmed working on blocked drains by the Rogue Traders team, where a drainage expert critiqued them on their work.

The company claims to be “local” and will “clear your drains fast.” Yet the programme revealed that the company appears in 42 different local directories as a locally-based firm (something’s definitely wrong there) from Bristol to Watford to Southampton.

And then we come to meaning of the word “fast”. In the first test in Watford, the drainage experts unblocked the drain in 25 seconds, the company were filmed taking 2 hours and 4 minutes! The job should have cost £57, the company charged £558.27!

So where does all this overcharging come from? The programme revealed the company used expensive equipment such as jets to clear the blockage, when rods would have been a better (and much cheaper) alternative. They also try and de-scale the pipe, which the programme shows is not needed.

Rogue Traders then film the company unblocking a drain in Southampton. The job should have cost £22.50 plus VAT, they charged £239.18 – that ten times what it should have cost!

So what we have here is a company that overcharges people 10x what it should have cost, and claim to be “local”, yet are anything but.

It’s not as bad as the plumbing firm that charged a customer £14,400 to unblock a drain, which we featured on Train4TradeSkills News last month, but it’s definitely out of order.

Read the full report on the BBC Rogue Traders website HERE

What do you think about this blatant overcharging? Let us know your thoughts and comment below or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page.

Train4TradeSkills News: The Plumbing company taking overcharging to a whole new level

Last month Train4TradeSkills News told you about the plumbing company that reportedly charged a customer £200 to look at a boiler on an emergency call out – that’s £40 a minute to just have a look at it! This enraged a number of people on our Facebook page, and rightly so.

Now times are hard and everyone knows that, but it’s not acceptable these sorts of prices. But now the same company has been featured on BBC’s Rogue Traders programme for the cost of their plumbing work.

A plumber from the Bedford-based plumbing company was secretly filmed by the BBC show when he was hired to do plumbing jobs in “people’s” (actor’s) homes.

While the plumber seemed to know what he was talking about, he wasn’t what you would call hard working. Unless you call perfecting your kung-fu moves, tapping your tools to make it sound like you are working and checking your phone and iPad hard work

The problem is that the company was charging the customer £95 every half hour (at least, as it turned out) in labour for the work. Which makes it very expensive time wasting.

The programme showed the rogue plumber doing this several times and charging customers a fortune for his services. Here are some examples from the programme, with the fault, how much the job cost and how much the job SHOULD have cost (the price quoted by 5 plumbers):

PROBLEM:                 SHOULD HAVE COST:                     ACTUAL COST:

Leaking boiler                    £477.20                                         £1406.60

Leaking toilet                     £74.70                                            £509.94

Faulty toilet                        £82                                                  £700.97

As you can see, this is not slightly overcharging – this is just ripping people off, charging customers up to seven times as much as it should for some jobs.

And in some cases, no actual work is done, as in the case of the £200 boiler callout and when the plumber looked at a leaking kitchen ceiling, as a customer was reportedly charged £414 for the call out.

This is unacceptable, and the programme clearly makes the point that the company is overcharging customers – a lot.

As plumbers and trainee plumbers, what are your thoughts on this programme? What do you think about the massive overcharging by the plumbing firm? Let us know your thoughts on here and on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook page.

Train4TradeSkills News: The Most Expensive Drain in Britain?

Last week on Train4TradeSkills News we told you about the customer who has charged £40 a minute (or £200 for 5 minutes) for a five minute emergency call out to look at a broken boiler. And you thought that was expensive?

A Hertfordshire-based plumbing company has charged a customer a staggering £14,400 to clear a blocked drain, which took 5 hours to unblock. That’s right – £14,400! That’s£2,880 an hour!

Basically it all started when Harold Stern, a 83 year old man from Ealing in West London, had a blocked drain and his usual builder was not able to fix it. Harold called in this plumbing company to sort it out and they reportedly quoted a charge of £59 for every half an hour of work.

Five hours later the job was done and the drain was unblocked. While the work was good, the price wasn’t, as Harold was hit with a £14,400 bill. The shocked pensioner said in a statement:

“A man arrived in an enormous truck and when he lifted the manhole cover in my back garden it was full of a foul-smelling liquid. He filled up his truck with water and started trying to move the blockage. After he had been at it for several hours he warned me that if it couldn’t be shifted, we would have to move into temporary accommodation while the drains were excavated. He then suggested he could try much stronger equipment at the other end of the lorry, but it was much more expensive. Fearing the alternative, I agreed.”

Of course, the stronger pumping equipment unblocked the drain, and the worker cleared out plant roots and left the drain working properly. After five hours, he presented his bill for £12,000 plus VAT.

The thing is that the work should have cost nowhere near this much. Dyno-Rod, a company that regularly carries out this type of work – say they usually take two hours to do this type of job – and charge £145 plus VAT. If the work is more serious, then it could cost £1,800. So where did a figure of 12 times that come from?

The company in question say they agreed the price with the customer beforehand. Now I know plumbers charge more in an emergency, but 12 times more? Really?

What we want to know is, as plumbers or trainee plumbers – what do you think about this? Is this really right – £14k+ to unblock a drain? Let us know what you think?

[Read the full story from The Telegraph at  ]

Plumbing firm charges £40 call out charge… A MINUTE!

Times are hard and the economy is struggling, that’s a well known fact. But a plumbing company from Bedford has reportedly took it a bit too far, by allegedly charging £40 A MINUTE for an emergency call out.

The Bedfordshire on Sunday reports that Jirina Sedova, 26, from Bedford, was charged £200 for five minutes of work. Mrs Sedova’s boiler broke down and she phoned a plumbing company to fix it.

After having to give her credit card details just to get them to come out, the plumber turned up, had a look at the boiler for five minutes and then charged Mrs Sedova £204 for the privilege. She said:

“He didn’t even touch the boiler and it cost me £200. He just said you have to get rid of it.”

Now I know times are hard, the price of living and petrol has gone up and people are struggling, but if this is actually true and this company are charging £40 a minute (or £200 for 5 minutes), then it’s completely absurd.

What we want to do though, is get your opinions on this? Are you a plumber/trainee plumber? Would you ever choose such extortionate prices? Let us know what you think below:

[Source: Bedfordshire on Sunday – ]