Walpole St Andrew woman says she is thousands of pounds out of pocket after West Walton builder left work unfinished and unsafe
PUBLISHED: 14:10 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:13 11 January 2019
A Walpole St Andrew woman has been left thousands of pounds out of pocket and living in a "pile of rubble for a kitchen" after a West Walton builder left work unfinished and unsafe.
Frances Adams, who moved to her cottage in Kirk Road in August 2017, says she paid £26,000 in advance to Michael Hackett – who allegedly refused to give her receipts or a contract – for him to carry out building work on her kitchen and bathroom.
When approached for a comment, Mr Hackett said: “I’ve tried to talk to Frances but she doesn’t want to know. There’s no story; there really isn’t… if there was an issue why did she leave it until the end of the job.”
He added: “I am now seeking legal advice so I’m not going to say anymore.”
However Ms Adams said that, more than a year and a half since the “fiasco” started, the work remains unfinished and she is still without a fitted fridge or oven.
She added that she has been left “broke” by what happened and had to call in another firm - T.M. Browne Ltd - to carry out an assessment and remedial work.
“I had to take a bank loan out to get the remedial work started. I’m now on the verge of having to sell the house because I haven’t got any savings left.
“The whole thing is a fiasco; I’m such a fool,” added Ms Adams, who alleges that the kitchen wall needed to be re-plastered three times because of the state it was left in.
Ms Adams also alleges that she had paid Mr Hackett £700 in cash for seven internal doors and a bath – items which she never received.
Ms Adams says she contacted the Citizen’s Advice Bureau because Mr Hackett “ignored all of my letters. She added: “I simply asked for receipts to show what I had paid him for but he wouldn’t give them to me. He stripped me of everything. I don’t want him to do it to anyone else.
“The last time I heard from him he said he wanted to come back and finish the work but I said definitely not.”
Ms Adams said she found Mr Hackett, who operates under the name Hackett Property Maintenance, on the website www.mybuilder.com because she thought it was “a trustworthy site”.
Mr Hackett has a 100 per cent feedback rating on the website site and his profile states “Hackett property offers all aspects of maintenance and home improvements.
“We offer a wide range of services that are prompt and reliable and we are on hand 24 hours a day to assist you.
“So whether you require some general building maintenance, home improvements or urgent assistance we are here to help.”
Colin Davison, business development manager of T.M. Browne Ltd, however said Ms Adams had been left £11,000 short changed – having paid Mr Hackett £26,000 for £15,000 worth of work.
“Ms Adams asked me to go out and do a survey of the work that had been done and to give a view of whether what she had been charged was a reasonable amount.
“I went back to her with a brief report which listed a number of items that had been started but left unfinished. I then gave her some costs to get the kitchen safe and back up and running because there were sockets and tiles hanging and several instances of damp.
“The work wasn’t brilliant and wouldn’t be how we would do it as a certified contractor,” he added.
As for advice for vulnerable people who might find themselves in a similar situation, Mr Davison said: “I would suggest that they get a form of reference, check qualifications and – most importantly - do not pay money up front.”