Ever used a rogue house clearance company? Got a story to share? Tell your story and help warn others not to make the same mistakes.
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Allison Greene from Cambridge… my story
After my grandmother died I decided that I didn’t want to go through the pain of clearing out her house myself, so I decided to employ a house clearance company to take care of the work for me. I had set aside those items which I wanted to keep and had clearly marked the boxes “DO NOT REMOVE”. I had also informed the gentleman (who seemed such an honest man at first) that those were the items which I wanted to keep and that everything else should be removed. I also made sure to tell him that there was nothing of any value in the boxes, that they merely contained items which were precious to me, such as photographs etc.
I left the men to get on with the work and went to my own job. I returned to find that absolutely EVERYTHING had been removed from my grandmother’s house; including the marked boxes and that the men were nowhere to be seen. I called the man’s phone but there no answer, as it was late I decided to leave the matter for now and not to worry as the office may simply be closed and I told myself that I would deal with it in the morning.
I managed to speak to the owner the next day and he informed me that the items had been lifted in error and that they would be returned to the premises soon. I asked if I could go myself and pick the items up but I was informed that that would not be possible. I was getting increasingly anxious about the matter as I had paid the man upfront and realised that I did not have an address for the so called company, nor did I have a landline number – I was simply given a freephone telephone number – which I soon realised, was being redirected to a mobile. I agreed to allow him to drop the boxes off at my grandmother’s house the following evening but, much to my disappointment, no one turned up. I called the freephone number on several occasions to find out what the problem was but got no reply.
I had begun to think that I would never get the items back, after several phone calls and not a single apology, it was finally agreed that I could come to meet the men on site at another job and pick up the items for myself. I couldn’t believe the attitude which these men had to such a delicate issue and I wish that I had heard of the UK House Clearance Association before I had my clearance done. I will certainly be more careful in future and I would urge anyone else thinking of hiring a company to carry out this type of work for them to do the same.
Peter Headingley from Surrey… my story
I had to have a house cleared about 3 years ago as the place had got into a bit of a mess after some students had rented it from me and I just didn’t have the time to sort the place out for myself. I found a company from an ad in the local paper and got them out to do the job. It was a total disaster; they took their money before they started the job and told me it would take 1 day to do. 3 days later the place was still full of stuff and they then asked me for more money, telling me that the job was bigger than they thought so I would have to pay more. I gave them what they asked for and left them to it. I wasn’t happy but there was nothing else I could do. The job ended up taking 5 days, and I know I could have done it myself in 2 days if I’d had time. 5 of them took 5 days. It was a total disgrace.
Thomas H from Kent… my story
Talk about cowboys! I had a right bunch of cowboys out to clear my father’s house last year as it had got into a bit of a state after my mum died and he couldn’t manage it on his own. He’s an old man but he still has his wits about him. They were supposed to do the work during the day when he was at the hospital and I was going to be there to oversee the work but they somehow managed to convince him to let them come in the evening when he was going to be there on his own. They finished the job (which I’d already paid for in advance) and then told my father that he had to pay them more money. There was no reason given why they needed the money, they just kept telling him that they knew he had money in the house and that if he didn’t give them the extra money they would go and find it themselves and would take extra for the hassle. He ended up giving them an extra £200.00 and at first he didn’t even tell me what had happened as he was so embarrassed. He then confided in me a few days later when I noticed that he seemed down. I can’t believe that anyone would do that to an old man, and I am also annoyed at myself for not using a company that had been recommended or one which had an office which I could go to complain. I have reported them to the police but I’ve been told it is a civil matter between myself and the house clearance firm. I don’t expect my father to ever get his money back.
Sarah P from York… my story
I was seriously messed around by a house clearance company last May. I work in Leeds but live in York and I really wanted a company who could come to do the work in the evening but I couldn’t find anyone who was available at short notice who was also happy to work after 7pm, so I arranged for the lads to come at 8am and I would let them in and show them what I wanted done, then leave them to it and go to work. At 10am I was still waiting, when they finally turned up they were actually quite rude, as if it was me who was inconveniencing them!! I couldn’t believe it but thought I best leave the complaining until after the job was done as I wanted it completed quickly as I was selling the house and I didn’t want any further delays. The work was to be finished by the time I got back from work that evening. I ended up being 3hrs late for work in the end and when I finally got back home in the evening the job wasn’t even finished. I had to wait in again the next morning for them to come back (on time this time!). A truly unprofessional operation.
Katrina R from Glasgow… my story
I ended up being fined by the council after I had my house cleared last year by a rogue company. It was a small job, a fridge, fridge freezer and a couple of TVs needed to be dumped but I thought I would get someone out to do it as I knew that those kind of items needed to be disposed of properly these days and I didn’t want to go to the hassle of finding out how etc. I live in quite a posh area, a bit of a curtain twitching one if I’m honest, and clearly someone had been making notes about who was having the work done! The guys who did the work didn’t dispose of my items appropriately; rather they dumped them beside the allotments at the bottom of my street!! I then ended up getting fined as one of the neighbours was able to tell the council that it was my property from which the items were removed, something which I obviously couldn’t deny. Needless to say, I couldn’t get in touch with the guys again after they were paid!
Mary from Leeds… my story
House mess making service more like! Before these “contractors” came into my house I had nice new cream carpet laid and they were only supposed to be removing stuff from the downstairs but my toilet is upstairs so they were traipsing up and down the stairs to the toilet all day. They didn’t bother to lay any dust sheets and the combination of a lack of manners and oily shoes completely destroyed my stair carpet. We needed to get a professional out to clean the carpet after they left. I refused to pay them the final instalment of the money (I had paid half upfront) because I needed the money to pay the carpet cleaner and I wouldn’t have needed a carpet cleaner if it wasn’t for them and I got a mouthful of abuse when I said I was withholding the money. Before the whole saga was over, 3 men had been round to demand the money, trying to threaten me but my husband is a police officer and when they heard that they soon stopped the harassment! I wouldn’t like to think that that’s the way they treat all their customers, especially since, as far as I’m aware, a lot of house clearances happen when people have died. Thankfully that wasn’t the case for me or it would have been even more stressful.
Gwyneth from Swansea… my story
My husband has a bad back and we called a house clearance company when we were moving house and needed a lot of old junk we’d gathered up over the years shifting as he can’t really lift heavy objects. He’s not lazy but he didn’t want to hurt his back any further. The young man who came kept asking for help with the heavy things as he was on his own and my husband felt like he couldn’t say no as he’s only 50 and doesn’t look old or anything and didn’t want the chap to think he was just being lazy. I was at work so I had no clue all this was going on. When I got home I saw Frank out the front helping the chap into the van with a big box. I was livid as that was the very reason we’d paid the chaps to come in the first place. After the whole ordeal was over, Frank ended up having to spend 2 full days in bed resting his back. I telephoned and spoke to the girl there who I’d booked the job in with and asked her why they only sent one chap over when they knew my husband had a bad back and she said it was a small job so they wouldn’t pay 2 men to go. I couldn’t believe how blunt she was with me but I’d already paid so what could I do? We’ve learned from our mistake and won’t be picking the first ad we see next time!
Zara from London… my story
I’m sick to death of being ripped off by rogue tradesmen. For example, I had a new kitchen and two new bathrooms fitted recently and the tradesmen I got in to do the job wouldn’t take any of the rubbish away so I called a clearance man in to sort out the rubbish – what a nightmare! They wanted paying up front for the full amount before they even started! What was supposed to take 1 day took 2 and I ended up having to take a day from work to make sure it was done right. I also had to replace a worktop in the brand new kitchen because when they took the old stuff away they scratched the top on one of the new worktops! Why don’t people working in your home take more care?! It has totally put me off getting anyone in to do work for me.
Finn from Aberdeen… my story
I got some lads in to sort out a house I had bought at auction about 3 years ago. The house was in a bit of a mess and the previous owners had left a large amount of rubbish in the property. I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with all of the work by myself so thought it best to get the professionals in. Whilst removing some kitchen cupboards they discovered a rat, and instead of informing me of the matter, they just ran out of the property and drove off. I returned home to find my property empty and unlocked. I couldn’t believe it. I had no clue where anyone was, hadn’t had a phone call to let me know what had happened or anything. I telephoned them immediately and was practically laughed at on the phone; apparently they found it very funny that they “had to run away from a rat”. They didn’t want to come back until the rats had been removed, which was fair enough, but I was so shocked that they had just left my property open and run off without telling me. As I had paid them upfront I had to have them back in to finish the job once the rats had been removed because I couldn’t afford to pay twice. I felt really uneasy around them after that incident and was just waiting for them to mess up again. Nothing else happened but the shock of finding my property open and abandoned was problem enough!
Kelly Ann from Yorkshire… my story
My family and I have had some less than memorable experiences with cowboy tradesmen, our most recent happened when the roof leaked again. We’ve got a VERY leaky roof and we’ve had it for several years, whenever there’s a storm, water comes pouring down the back of the wall in the toilet, into the lounge and kitchen. It has flooded the electrical intake cupboard in the kitchen on several occasions, which I am guessing is a potential fire hazard. Over the years we’ve had plumbers, surveyors, roofers, electricians and goodness knows how many others in to try and fix it, but nothing ever seems to get sorted. About 6 months ago I was woken up to the sound of gushing water and got out of bed to find myself standing in a puddle – at this point I’d had enough and decided to call a very expensive well known building firm in to see if they could finally fix the problem and thankfully they did. After all the work was done the house was in a complete mess and all of the furniture from the room which was flooded needed to be skipped so I thought this can’t be a hard job, I’m not paying a really expensive firm to do this, I’ll just get the cheapest one I can find along, gees was that a mistake! They dumped the old furniture, carpets etc, as well as some rubbish bags which I’d left outside in a skip only 3 streets from my house rather than disposing of it properly. The rubbish was then traced back to me from letters in the rubbish bags and I had to pay SOMEONE ELSE to come and dispose of the rubbish properly. I couldn’t believe my luck. Now, finally, after years of bother with the roof and everything else, it’s all sorted but after considerable and unnecessary stress caused by cowboy tradesmen.
Paul from Blackpool… my story
I had £500 stolen from me by rogues last year. I paid a house clearance firm to clear my mother’s old house. They asked for £500 upfront and £500 on completion. I didn’t think it was really that big a job but they went into some detail about fees etc they needed to pay for safe disposal and talked me into it. I paid the first £500 in cash on the Monday and someone was to come on the Wednesday to start the job. I’m retired so I said I would be available all day and when they still hadn’t turned up by 12pm I called to find out what the delay was, they said they were caught up on another job but would be there the next morning, I waited again and the same thing happened – no show. Nearly a week went by before I realised I’d been had and that they never were going to come and do the work – I’m £500 down the drain and a little wiser now! I haven’t even bothered contacting the police because I know what they will say.
Elaine from Essex… my story
I had some dodgy tradesmen out last month and I’m not one bit happy, the experience was a complete nightmare, from breaking my light fitting in the living room when carrying benches through, to ripping up part of my carpet and breaking a handle off one of my doors, I couldn’t believe the destruction they left in their wake. I thought I was getting someone in to clear my house, not to tear it apart. The men were rude, uninformative and disrespectful of my home. They moved items which were to be retained and left items which were to be removed, there was absolutely no communication between them and at one point I saw someone take a box out for the next guy to bring it straight back in! They tried to add “extras” at the end as well; I was having none of it, paid them what was agreed and was glad to be rid of them. I can’t believe that businesses can continue to operate with such poor customer service! I have reported them to trading standards and await a response.
Tracy P from Richmond… my story
I called in a house clearance company when I was moving my elderly Mother out of the house she had lived in for decades. I was quoted a fixed price. However, when it came to paying they said they had incurred ‘additional expenses’ and wanted nearly 40% more than they had originally quoted. I was shocked but they maintained that the level of ‘clutter’ meant more work. Bear in mind, they had already had a look-around and knew what they were taking on! Not only were they unprofessional and unreasonable they were quite rude when I mentioned the original quote up.
Fiona from Middlesbrough… my story
I had a superb service from a team of professional gentlemen, or so I thought! 3 weeks after the clearance was done I noticed bizarre transactions on my credit card and found out that I’d had my credit card details stolen; the only possible culprit was the clearance outfit. Thankfully I managed to get the police involved in enough time and the men were caught. Hopefully no one else will be tricked by them now!
Alison from Poole… my story
A lot of people think that the only problems you can have are financial ones but the main problem for me with the house clearance company I used was customer service. First of all, when they came in the first thing they did was light up a cigarette, instantly it put me back, I didn’t know what to do, whether I should tell them not to smoke in my house or to let them get on with it. They didn’t look for any clarification before doing things either, they just got stuck in and all I heard the whole time they were there was a lot of swearing and I felt totally uncomfortable having them in my home. I just couldn’t wait for the thing to be over and done with and I was glad to see the back of them.
Chris from Peterbrough… my story
I was totally ripped off by an office clearance man in May. He took £345 from me as a deposit, then another £300 after the first day and ANOTHER £100 at the start of the second day for a “disposal fee” which I was never told about to begin with. I said I wasn’t paying but then he said he wouldnt finish the job and I had to pay him because I needed the office to be functional when my new staff came in on the Monday. I thought that was the end of it but when he finished he asked me for another £240. I asked why and he told me that the job was bigger than he’d thought. I said that I wasnt paying it and he said that if I didnt he wouldnt give me my office keys back. Stupidly I had given him the only set and I had so I was left with no choice. I can’t believe now that I paid the money rather than rang the police but he was quite threatening and I didnt know what else to do at the time. Complete madness if you ask me!