A DORSET pensioner says he has been left £200,000 out of pocket by ‘rogue traders’ he paid to carry out works at his home.

Keith Gipp, of Milton Abbas, says the situation has left him ‘depressed’, adding he has been forced to take out a loan to pay other builders to finish the work.

The 75-year-old employed Blandford-based company Transform Dorset to carry out work on an extension in April 2022 following a recommendation from a neighbour.

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However, he says the extension has been left ‘unfinished’ and features such as skylights fitted incorrectly - posing a health and safety hazard.

Drainage and other parts of the job were also not completed to an adequate standard, he said.

Mr Gipp said that there was a lack of consistency with workers failing to turn up to carry out the job.

When he questioned the company, he was told the work would be finished ‘before Christmas’ and when this did not happen, he was informed it would be done ‘in the next four weeks’.

“This has never materialised and now I have had to take out a £25,000 loan to pay other builders to come and finish this,” Mr Gipp said. “It is scandalous.

“They would go a week without turning up and say they have got staff problems.”

The pensioner believes ‘other people should be aware’ of the company and added that his various emails, letters and calls asking for a refund have gone unanswered.

He also claimed that another company - Blandford Plastics - has since been set up which has the same address and directors as Transform Dorset on Companies House after the latter reportedly went into liquidation.

“I cannot afford to take them to court,” Mr Gipp said. “They have taken all of my money.

“I felt like I let my wife and my two children down. I feel terrible, it has been destroying for me - I don’t deserve this. It has just been a nightmare.”

Mr Gipp also said the company will be ‘helped out of liquidation’ by an insolvency firm.

Other friends who employed Transform Dorset to carry out works at their home have experienced similar problems, he added.

Another man has been left £52,000 out of pocket and without his ‘dream’ extension and kitchen.

Jismon Varghese, of Poole, ‘suffered financially and mentally’ after an extension he was told would take four to six weeks was left ‘less than 20 per cent complete’ after months of delays from Transform Dorset Ltd.

Mr Varghese said he ‘suffered financially and mentally’ after an extension he was told would take four to six weeks was left ‘less than 20 per cent complete’ after months of delays from business Transform Dorset Ltd.

Jismon and his wife, both healthcare professionals, had saved up and decided at the end of last year to move ahead with the work, to extend their house in Poole and build a living area and kitchen.

The 38-year-old said he made sure to get references and a contract, including a full price with VAT and a completion date, signed before work commenced, to ensure that everything would go smoothly.

After being rushed into signing it, with the threat of having to wait for months due to ‘other projects’, Jismon signed the contract and work began in January.

Jismon said to begin with, the company was ‘very good’.

“After a month, they went quiet,” he said.

“No phone calls, nobody turned up, nothing. So, I started chasing up, what’s happening. You’ve got the money, you said four to six weeks completion time and it’s a month gone.”

As months went on, this continued, with Jismon given excuses of injuries and a lack of staff.

Workers would come to the house every so often to do some work, charging Jismon more money as it seemed progress was being made.

But, in May, he contacted Citizens Advice and sent the company a letter on advice that it had breached the contract, to which there was no response.

“After all this, I was fed up, I was frustrated,” Jismon said.

“Mentally we were down. It’s been months, we’ve spent all the money. Me and my wife lost our peace.

“We worked hard and we lost all this money, for nothing.”

He reported the company to CheckaTrade, the police, Trading Standards and Action Fraud.

CheckaTrade sent a surveyor to assess the work, who told Jismon just 20 per cent was completed and it would cost £40,000 to finish. The website revoked the business’s membership.

He received an email from the director saying the company had gone into liquidation. Jismon had been told that its warehouse had been cleared, including his kitchen from Howden’s that he had paid for, which was still being stored there.

He said a police officer had told him there were ‘a number’ of similar cases relating to the same business.

Dorset Council’s Trading Standards team has received multiple complaints in relation to the company operating under the name Transform Dorset Ltd. A spokesperson said: These complaints allege that the company has taken large pre-payments for high-value building work and not completed the work as promised, and that any work that has been done has been sub-standard.

Dorset Council Trading Standards are continuing to monitor the complaints against the companies and individuals named. If it is believed any criminal offences have been committed, the team will liaise with Dorset Police to ensure any relevant action is taken.”

We advise that when looking for a trader to undertake large building work, consumers use builders registered with the Buy with Confidence scheme. All traders registered with this scheme are vetted and approved by trading standards.

Alternatively, consumers should ask family and friends for recommendations and seek at least three quotes for the work before selecting a trader. As an extra precautionary measure, consumers can also ask traders to provide the details of satisfied customers who they can contact directly.

Consumers should be aware that builders who provide the cheapest quotes will not necessarily be the best and be wary of traders that are substantially cheaper than the competition.

We would strongly advise that consumers do not pay large amounts of money up front for building work and they should be suspicious if asked to do so.

Consumers who wish to make a complaint about building work or their dealings with a trader should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service either online or by calling 0808 223 1133.