I recently had a new shower fitted in one of my bathrooms (odd house, we have three bathrooms altogether but just two bedrooms!). I was looking for a professional company and one which was recommended was LH Cook, based in Little Hadham, Herts.
Len Cook himself came to do the quote, but his workman for the job was Nick – a very nice bloke and a good plumber too.
During the course of the job we added in a small amount of extra work which made more sense as the job progressed than it did at the time of the quote. Len Cook was clear we would need to pay a bit more than the original quote, and I agreed this was reasonable. The additional work amounted to tiling the bathroom floor and removing an extra piece of timber…
Yes, you guessed it, the additional work was over charged!
Worse still, we contested the ridiculously high amount we were being asked to pay, which incidentally included two extra days work which just didn’t happen, but heard nothing from Len Cook at all. I rang his office twice and left the ball in his court, but no response was forthcoming.
That was in October ’04.
In February ’05 we received a letter stating that we would have our debt handed to recovery agents if we did not pay up. Imagine the arrogance of thinking that not responding to a genuine enquiry, and sending a final demand, was OK!!
I rang again, and once more failed to speak directly to Len Cook, but instead left a message with his secretary (wife??). He failed to return my call once more and so I approached the citizen’s advice bureau, a solicitor and the trading standards office.
It transpires that we have not much to stand on here… but we did make a payment which we thought was reasonable, based on the current prices for the additional materials and Len Cook’s own quote for labour per hour. We have since heard nothing (no surprise there) but expect to get another threatening letter soon. I seriously doubt we’ll get an apology, or a letter that says ‘silly me, how right you were all along’.
The thing is no-one likes to get ripped off. Unfortunately Len Cook seems to be a rip off merchant, despite having a fairly good reputation. The funny thing is that the joke between us and the plumber, Nick, was that Len Cook does his quotes by peering through the letterbox! Odd how true this seems to be, since he has not once looked at the finished work or made an assessment of the additional work carried out.
So, if you are looking to employ Len Cook, INSIST on a detailed item by item quote, as he will apparently hide all manner of additional costs in the lack of detail.
Alternatively, don’t use his services at all.