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Call to blacklist rogue traders
A FAMILY-RUN builders’ merchant has called for a blacklist of rogue traders to be circulated among responsible businesses after a suspected cowboy builder failed to repay a £4,000 debt.
Dean’s Home And Garden Maintenance had a 30-day account with HJ Webb And Sons, in Shrivenham, but has not paid for goods it took between August and September.
The whereabouts of the firm’s owner, Dean Goucher, is unknown.
His son Sam previously told the Adver Dean left Swindon six months ago and has only been in touch to say he is safe. Steve Davidson, the general manager at HJ Webb, has failed to locate the tradesman over the £4,300 debt for fencing and shed-building materials.
Jez Webb, a partner at the yard, believes a list of rogue traders would operate in a similar way to the Pubwatch scheme used by pubs to share information on troublemakers.
He said: “I think there should be a website set up so all local businesses can check for up-to-date news of rogue businesses. “I am not talking about businesses just generally slow in paying or quibbling their bills, but out-and-out crooks. I think a lot of business would join such a scheme.”
Mr Goucher left several unhappy customers, including Esther Jones, who claims she is owed £4,200 after the company botched a job to build a patio at her home in East Wichel.
Faye Sweet alleged Mr Goucher filled her house in Penhill with carbon monoxide after tampering with a boiler, leaving her hospitalised for four days.
Don and Amanda Cox also claimed the firm walked out on a redecorating job at their home in Abbey Meads after applying one coat of paint to a wall, leaving them £500 out of pocket.
Swindon Council’s trading standards team is investigating the cases.
This week another unhappy customer, Cheryl Kelser, 50, said she regretted not having reported the company in 2010 when it took just eight minutes to tend her garden in Wroughton.
The GHW staff nurse said: “I had paid them £20 a fortnight to look after the garden. The third time they came I watched them spend eight minutes before leaving. “I wasn’t happy so I phoned Dean and left a message cancelling the service. I didn’t hear back and didn’t realise they were the cause of so many other complaints.
“I feel lucky I didn’t have any other work done, but I regret not reporting them.”
Sam Goucher, 22, who worked with his father before they fell out at the end of last year, has hit back at the customers, accusing them of fabricating or exaggerating problems.
He declined to comment on the debt to HJ Webb, and said he could not remember working at Mrs Kelser’s property. Consumers who want a list of approved companies in swindon can visit the website www.buywithconfidence.com.