Cowboys and Indians

I have bad builder karma.

I do, I really do. I know most people probably have a horror story or two hidden up their sleeve. I could write a book, a series of books. Its not all tales of cowboy builders, for the most part the people we’ve worked with have been decent, kept to estimates and been skilled at what they do.

Its our house you see. It actively resists things going right. If there is a simple plaster job to do, the underlying render will crack and fall off. If there’s a hole to be drilled in a wall it will hit a pipe. Nothing can just be simple. And to give them their dues, most builders have been solid, taking issues in stride and working with us to resolve it.

Then there was the builder from hell. I look back at the 19 months he worked on our house and just shake my head. Again, it wasn’t all bad, much of the work he did was to a good standard. The house just did its thing, and in correcting one job, three problems would rear their ugly head.

But he was a cowboy. Not in the “rip you off and do no work” sense, but in the fact he would far rather be riding the range and herding cows than keeping the books straight. Trying to figure out what I owed him for which piece of work was a nightmare. He also went bust midway through the job, though I naively didn’t know it at the time.

I got this letter see. It said “We’re moving offices, and changing names, and changing bank accounts. Isn’t it great?” Now if I had been at the office and in a professional capacity I would have smelled a rat. This was my home, see? I was working with him to resolve three separate problems, and he and his team was doing a good job to resolve it, so I didn’t see.

In fact he’s a serial liquidator. Builds up debts in one limited company, shuts it down and immediately opens up another. When he says it isn’t deliberate, that he always means to do good, I half believe him. However, at the time I didn’t realise it (and believe me, I’ve given myself many a middle of the night sleepless kicking worrying about it). I’ve found all this out since the fact when alerted by one poor supplier who wasn’t paid for something he supplied to my house.

All this is well after the fact. The reason I’m writing this, my blood bubbling in an impotent rage, is he’s after me for a final payment to the liquidated company. Its all very odd. However I have a letter from the liquidator saying its full and final payment. I have taken legal advice and been told that so long as I have backup, that I’ve paid to the previous and current companies and properly informed, I’m in the clear.

Its just this, the builder, the one who folded the previous company, is chasing me. He would only do that if some or all of the money was going to go to him. I know there are creditors to the previous company unpaid. It just makes me ill. However, the law is the law, and it is not always just. So I’ll pay and be done with it.

I just don’t have to like it.

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