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Beware of Cowboy Builders

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Beware of Cowboy Builders

Postby msmith » Thu 19 Mar 2009 18:02 GMT

Be very careful when choosing English speaking builders. I had a renovation in Sofia and for lack of language and trust in local builders, I chose an unreliable American builder, Tom Nelson. I was led to believe he had a team of reliable workers, who could do a proper job at a reasonable, not cheap, price.

As I wasn't to be there, I was expecting a certain amount of project management, which was what I was paying for.
However it became clear that he was using workers wherever he could find them and was not controlling the work properly.

To cut a long story short a 6-8 week job became a 3/4 month nightmare. During this time his rudeness and arrogance became more and more apparent. The only interest he had was in the money and the lack of pride or care in the work was evident when I saw the finishings- a ten year-old could have done better with some of the paintwork.
I managed to persuade him to redo some, although it was as if he were doing me a favour and indeed wanted to charge me for it.

However, a fews days after he left, the flat flooded. I contacted him and although he practically admitted his culpability he started to deny responsibility and in fact began to fling insults.
The plumber who saw it stated a pipe part should have been replaced during renovation. He also owes further work on the outdoor area. When I mentioned this to Mr. Nelson he told me 'to go f yourself'.

During the last two weeks there have continued to be problems. There are suspicions that things were put down the toilet pipe on purpose.

Subsequently I have lost the new tenant and more expenses are literally going down the toilet.

In retrospect I was a little naive in the payment scheme on signing the contract. Aside from avoiding this guy like the plague, I should have ensured that the final payment(at least 10%) was held back until a month after completion and the contract incorporated penalty clauses for late deadlines.
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Postby AnnaSmith » Mon 14 Oct 2013 10:54 GMT

Dear MSmith,

I work for a TV production company called Ricochet, based in Brighton, UK.

We are currently producing a new series of the popular show 'Cowboy Builders' for Channel 5 which aims to help out home-owners who have been left in the lurch by rogue builders while exposing the cowboys to warn the general public.

We are keen to widen our programme to home-owners abroad and would like to feature a British family who have moved to Bulgaria who might have experienced problems with their property. In my research I came across your post dated 2009 on the exact subject.

I realise this is now quite a while ago, but I was wondering whether I might be able to ask you more about your experience with your property and the builder you mention?

Are you still living in Bulgaria? Is the builder still trading? Do you know of any other families who might have been affected in the same way as you?

I would appreciate any information you could provide on the subject. Please PM me directly if you are willing to discuss this further.


Kind regards,
Anna Smith
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Postby Dave » Tue 15 Oct 2013 02:29 GMT

Anna, neither you nor msmith will be able to PM - that's a privilege reserved to Premium members.
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