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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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What is the best action to take as I replied to an advert on

Customer Question

What is the best action to take as I replied to an advert on gumtree from a plumber who has defrauded me of £150.

This is what transpired:

I found a service on gumtree from a plumber on Friday 17th May 2013, the ad reference was XXXXXXXXXX and the name of the plumber Lee with telephone XXXXXXXXXXX He came over to the house had a look at the bathroom and advised that I replace the water pump. He offered to drive down to the shop and purchase the water pump and then come and fix it. He suggested that the pump would cost £150 which I paid immediately with a written note confirming payment.

He came back 45 minutes later to say the part was unavailable and that they will have to order it. He said the product will be delivered to the shop on Saturday and he would come and fix it about 4pm. Later on Saturday 18th May 2013 he sent a text that the parts did not arrive and it would definitely arrive on Monday 20th.

Today he sent a text saying his son is ill in Ireland and cannot come that I should find another plumber. I then requested that he give me the details of the shop where he ordered the water pump so that I can pick it up and call another plumber to fit it. He then said he had not paid the shop. THIS WAS A LIE AS HE TOLD ME ON FRIDAY THAT HE HAD PAID FOR THE PUMP AND WAS AWAITING DELIVERY (HE SENT A TEXT CONFIRMING THIS). When I requested for my £150 he did not respond. He only responded when I threatened to call the police. When I mentioned that the police will call he then said he would send me a cheque but I refused and replied that he pays it into my account. I have not heard from him since.

He has left my house in a mess as there is a huge leak in the bathroom because of the pump that was removed, the whole kitchen in filled with water. I am completely heartbroken.

Before I thought about calling the police I called gumtree and spoke to a member of staff on the phone and she took a statement from me. She took the advert reference number and the mobile phone of the plumber and stated that their procedure for such cases included:

(1) Passing the case details to their fraud department who would carry out their own investigation

(2) Their fraud department then passes on the case to the police with a crime reference ID.

My Worries

Should I sit and wait for gumtree as there is a leak in the bathroom as a result of the old pump taken out, the carpet is soaked as I cannot call a new plumber as I have no funds.

The reason why I take the gumtree procedure with so much trepidation is that the lady on the phone forgot to take my contact details she almost hung up the phone, I had to remind her and gave her my phone number and email address.

Is there anything else I can do to collect my money as the bath leak is damaging other things in the house?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

It sounds like you have been conned.

Report this incident to the police and trading standards immediately.

If you get another plumber to fix the damage, you should use a reliable organisation such as Rated People or use your local Thompson Directory or Yellow Pages.