Traders pulled up a family’s driveway in Wolverhampton – then put a note through the door with a £2,500 bill.
Nurse Tracey Jones was horrified to find a muddy patch of land where her drive used to be on returning to her home in Finchfield.
She then discovered a bill had been pushed through the door, asking for the cash. It came days after she had turned down work on the drive from a man with a broad Irish accent who had knocked on the door.
Wolverhampton council is now warning people to be on their guard as Trading Standards are looking into the case and the police have been informed.
The 51-year-old mother of three is an infection control nurse at New Cross Hospital, and lives at the property with her partner Carl Osbourne, 47.
Last Sunday, she answered the door to a man in his late-20s, who offered to resurface her garden and driveway for a knock-down price.
She told him she was considering giving the driveway a facelift, but was not prepared to agree to the work on the doorstep and would contact him if she wanted the work to be carried out.
“I couldn’t believe it when I came home the following evening and my front garden had been completely dug up and they’d left a bill for £2,500,” said Tracey.
The man had left the bill, which he signed as ‘John’, with a leaflet for company P&S Paving Ltd. The man had also nailed a sign to a nearby tree with a contact number.
The bill read: “To dig out all slabs and gravel area. Then to remove it all and to put a new layer of block pavers all around. Then to put a new layer of hardacre Then to put a new layer of sub-base down Then to newly tarmac it all and roll it down to a smooth finish.
“To be paid on completion of customers satisfaction.”
Tracey continued: “I’m really angry. We’re a youngish couple, but what if this had happened to someone disabled or elderly?”
She added: “All my grass has gone as well as a pathway leading to the back of the property, so I have no idea how I’ll manage to get the bins out over the mud.”
The driveway had previously had a lawn, with slabs to the right to enable Tracey to take her bins out. It also had brickwork running along the bottom of the lawn.
“I made it absolutely clear to the lad who knocked on my door that I was not able to agree to the work being done there and then. When I rang him to ask what on earth they were playing at, he claimed it was all a misunderstanding.
“I won’t be paying them for this mess, but of course we’re now landed with a bill to put this right ourselves.
“I want other residents to be wary about these people, they target properties in need of some work, do the job when the householders are out, bill them and then claim it is a big misunderstanding. Presumably some people fall for it and figure that because the work needed doing they agree to pay them. It’s not right.”
John at P&S Paving, which also has a premises in Dudley, said: “It was just a misunderstanding. I thought I had permission to carry out the work, that’s why we did it.”
Andy Jervis, head of public protection at Wolverhampton council, said: “Following a complaint we received about unnecessary work that was carried out on a driveway, Trading Standards are now carrying out an investigation.”
Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, speaking about these types of instances said: “Our trading standards team are aware of these sorts of tactics.
“They try and trick householders into thinking they have agreed to this work and presumably through a combination of confusion and pressure some people cave in and pay for work they never agreed to. It is frankly outrageous that someone will come onto your property uninvited and have the barefaced cheek to dig up your driveway and then hand you a bill for thousands of pounds. Luckily Ms Jones called trading standards right away.
“Imagine if the victim was an elderly person or someone vulnerable, they could very well be conned out of considerable sums of money. We want to raise awareness that this is going on – we will be looking to take action against the individuals concerned.”
Anyone who thinks they might have been the victim of anything similar is asked to call Citizens Advice on 0345 404 05 06.Subscribe to our Newsletter