Work to make the victim’s garden more wheelchair friendly that should have taken two weeks took four months
A builder who overcharged a customer with a disabled son and carried out shoddy work has been ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to his victim.
Kristian Phillip Lee was employed to carry out work at the Skewen property including building a wall and steps in the garden, levelling the patio, laying slabs and raising a fence.
He was also asked to build a ramp for the victim’s son, who is in a wheelchair.
Lee, aged 32, charged more than £9,500 – excluding VAT – for the job, which took him four months to complete. A surveyor would later estimate that the job should have cost half that, and taken no more than two weeks.
The surveyor also reported that there was little value in the work done, the quality of work that had been carried out was poor and that the consumer’s property had been damaged in the process.
Lee, of Heol Dal-y-Coppa, Trallwn, Llansamlet, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 when he appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court.
The court heard how the workman would frequently not turn up on the job, meaning that three-quarters of the ready-mixed concrete ordered for the job had to be disposed of.
The householder also had to pay for skips to remove the rubbish generated. Lee left the job unfinished.
Dissatisfied at what was being done, and the price being charged, the victim contacted Neath Port Talbot Council’s trading standards department in early 2016 – the local authority then employed an expert surveyor to assess the job.
The surveyor advised that the works should have cost between £4,500 and £5,000 plus VAT, and should have taken 10 to 14 days to complete.
Lee was ordered to pay his victim compensation of £3,000, as well as costs of £600.
The prosecution was welcomed by Des Davies, Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet member for community, safety and public protection.
He said all residents should be vigilant and do their research on tradesmen and women to avoid failing victim to scammers – and to be cautions when paying money upfront for work.
He said: “Under the regulations, traders are required to exercise professional diligence in the work they carry out.
“Particularly bad workmanship or work not as described will be investigated by the trading standards team.”