Heartless roof-tile scam sees pensioner lose his home

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A hole in your roof can lead to an even bigger one in your ­finances – ­especially if dodgy traders are at work.

And a scam I heard about this week is one of the worst I have ever come across over the years – with an ­elderly homeowner targeted.

In February 2018, 78-year-old Jim arrived home to discover more than half the tiles on his roof had been pinched.

The next day, a white van pulled up on the driveway, like a knight in shining armour, offering to help.

The driver, a roofer who called ­himself Douglas, said he heard what happened and his boss had given him authority to give Jim a big discount to replace the tiles.

Rotten through and through

Douglas kept finding more ‘problems’

Jim was obviously delighted and relieved to be receiving some help so quickly and said he would like a quote. He did not think about asking how Douglas had heard of his roof problem.

Douglas quoted him £2,500 to do the job and Jim agreed.

The next day, Douglas started work – but things went from bad to worse.

He announced that some of Jim’s roof joists were rotting and needed replacing urgently.

Douglas suggested he would get on with dealing with the issue, as there was a danger the room would collapse.

They could worry about the cost later, he said. Jim, from Corby, Northants, felt ­compelled to agree.

The work took nearly four months, during which Jim’s house was surrounding in scaffolding and tarpaulin covered the roof.

 

A final insult

Douglas was not on site every day and rarely had help from other people. The big shock came in June, when Douglas presented him with the final invoice for £63,495.

Douglas explained he bought lots of materials for the job and put in countless man hours, hence the stonker of a bill.

It gets worse. Not knowing what to do or where to turn, Jim ended up being talked into selling Douglas his house – for £63,495 below the market price.

Jim’s case is being ­investigated but I have no doubt it was all a scam on a vulnerable man.



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