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Cowboy customers are conning builders as 1.7 million homeowners delay payment to bag lower prices


Cowboy builders have long been the scourge of property owners under-taking home improvements but now it is the builders who say they are living in fear of cowboy customers ripping them off.

Over a quarter of tradesmen and women including bricklayers, electricians, carpenters and plumbers claim they have been conned by rogue customers who don’t pay up for home improvements such as new kitchens, patios and conservatories.

Tradespeople in the South West of England are among the worst affected among builders who say they have lost at least £1,000 to customers, with 57 per cent affected.

Over a third of builders in London – 37 per cent – said the same, followed by 33 per cent in the North East and 30 per cent in the East Midlands, as well as 27 per cent in East Anglia and the West Midlands.

Meanwhile, in the North West, it was 23 per cent, with 22 per cent in Scotland and 14 per cent in Yorkshire and Humberside and Wales.

Over a quarter of tradesmen and women including bricklayers, electricians, carpenters and plumbers claim they have been conned by rogue customers who don't pay up for home improvements such as new kitchens, patios and conservatories (Stock image)

Over a quarter of tradesmen and women including bricklayers, electricians, carpenters and plumbers claim they have been conned by rogue customers who don’t pay up for home improvements such as new kitchens, patios and conservatories (Stock image)

The survey of 1,000 tradespeople, by Fix Radio, found an estimated 1.7million home owners had delayed payment in order to try and negotiate a lower price.

One customer refused to pay for a new wall outside his house claiming it had fallen down, only for CCTV footage to later reveal he knocked it down himself when he decided he didn’t want it.

Station broadcaster Clive Holland said: ‘The country is littered with tradespeople who have been hit by cowboy customers. It’s as simple as that.

‘People at the minute are strapped for cash, but they still want that ex-tension or that painting job to get done.

‘They know full well that when you do it, they’re not going to pay you because they do not have the money because of the cost-of-living crisis, or they’re just incredibly selfish.’



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