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Central Heating

Possible old lady being ripped off


I am concerned that a little old lady who lives near me may be getting ripped off. I do not know much about plumbing or central heating systems, hence would appreciate any advice anyone could give me.

She recently had an electric central heating system installed by a “Handyman” type guy who seems to have taken to trying to befriend her, having cups of tea with her whilst trying to find new jobs to do in her home.

He installed this system. The pipes are not hidden instead are in the corner of he kitchen which looks terrible. There appears to burn marks on the wall behind the pipes. It all looks quite messy.

I have taken some pictures of the pipe work and heating bit. I do not believe the bloke is a qualified electrician / plumber. She has paid for the work, but appears embarrassed when I talk about it with her. Unfortunately she lives alone so is quite vulnerable to people trying to take advantage or her.

I am slightly worried that 1) she has been ripped off and 2) it may be dangerous 3) should I speak to trading standards 4) what qualifications do you need and what happens if he hasn’t got them?

The pressure was reading at 1500 but is now at 500. Is this bad?

He has also “laid” some new carpet for her. This has just been placed on top the old carpet, isn’t stuck down and doesn’t fit. I have included the pictures as the quality of this work also leads me to believe he is not a good tradesperson. Even with my limited knowledge of diy this is not good.

Any ideas or advice would be appreciated.

I have uploaded pictures on here



10 Answers from MyBuilder Heating Engineers

Best Answer

Jesus what a mess...

First of all..and most importantly, You need to get a at least a qualified electrician and plumber to make sure it's safe. Sooner rather than later. Ask them to varify what's wrong with it. Once you know can pursue him for either the money back or repair costs etc...He can't argue against someone that's qualified.

Then, if you haven't done already, I would contact and send all those photo's to trading standards, they will tell you what you can do. Follow the guy home home so you know exactly where he lives, avoid confrontation unless you handle it... Contact local papers, they love these stories etc and then seek legal advice.

It's actually quite difficult to sue someone that isn't qualified to do a particular job, unless they say they are...goes with any trade. You also have to give them chance to put it right, or if they aren't qualified, they have to subcontract to someone that is. Shouldn't cost the lady anything though.

I'm afraid these types of losers always befriend/charm vulnerable people, and then rip them off. One of my feedback had a similar thing happen... the guy then befriended/worked his way down the street doing the same to his neighbours who were all elderly.

I doubt there's a decent tradesperson on this site, that doesn't feel slighty or extremely angry when they see/hear of this kind of thing.

I wish you all the best, and hope the little old lady doesn't blame herself too much for this happening, or blame you for trying to help.

Kind regards



Answered 28th Nov 2011

had a look at your pictures and she is definetly being ripped of if she payed for this work. it definetly needs checked to make sure its not dangerous.
post in the plumming / central heating section of the site and get someone out to check,

the carpets are also a total mess had a gran that fell because her carpets where not fitted properly ripped them all out and replaced them unfortunally that was after she ended up in the hospitail.

old people like to feel independant and dont like to bother other people but this old dear deseves better.

good luck alex


Answered 28th Nov 2011

That's very responsible of you,there's not a lot you can do though other than get his name and any other details and report him to trading standards and here where I'm sure My Builder will notify any potential customers of his dodgy work,you can also contact a local respected tradesman to go and have a look to make sure the Old lady is safe from any potential danger this guy may have caused.
You could get a few of the neighbours together and give him a direct request to leave and don't come back or you will report him to the police !!
Sorry can not be any further help,
Kind regards

All the best and well done..


Answered 28th Nov 2011

next time this little old lady needs work doing source her the labour from this site, the questions answered have covered everything else


Answered 29th Nov 2011

Does she have any family, I think by what you say and to be on the safe side, if she has family, inform them of your concerns, also Trading Standards and the Police.
There are unfortunately a lot of unscrupulous people about, and it is low life like this that gives the trade a bad name.


Answered 28th Nov 2011

Some of the guys that awnsered your question really know their stuff and I think they cover it.

I wonder, does she have any relatives that you could contact?

Kind regards



Answered 28th Nov 2011

hi it does not sound to good does it i would call in a gas safe regiistered plumber to have the boiler and system checked asp as it may be dangerous,if this person does not know what they are doing and as for the rest of works done contact trading standards, and don"t let him do any more works


Answered 28th Nov 2011

Absolutely Shocking! I am appauled at the work he has carried out... he is no doubt a rouge trader! Report him and get someone to check thr work he has carried out. Just from looking at the pictures it doesnt look very safe. I hope you get this sorted.

James @ The Gas Engineers Limited


Answered 5th Dec 2011

first thing to do is get him back to address any issues
i know this may not seem a good idea but...
if you do not give him a chance to put it right trading standards and the courts will not be very interested
she should have an electrical certificate for any wiring as for the plumbing
does she?
judging by your picture they let anyone loose with a blowtorch these days
it does look like a poor job none of the joints in the pictures have been cleaned and there could be leaks not ideal
call him back ! if he does not put it right get some quotes to do so and inform him that he will be paying and remind him if this lady does not have one about the electrical certificate if he tries to bluff ask him which company insures his electrical work ( like napit or niceic) and check him out if he is registered with someone they will ask him to put it right too


Answered 29th May 2012

Rouge traders like to help with this sort of stuff, hope it gets sorted


Answered 30th Nov 2011

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