Friday, 30 November 2007

Tradesmen (18) vs. Homeowner (4)

With the influx of Eastern Europeans into the UK, especially into the melting pot that's London (at least now, you can say it is a place that is multicultural), you could be mistaken into believing that the oversupply of, if not necessarily adequate supply, of fully qualified tradesmen would bring about a levelling of the old demand vs. supply conundrum; to the advantage of those in need of a good servicing. Sadly, the past few weeks have put paid to that shining beacon of hope.

Seventeen different electrical companies over a three week period were called. The only brief, to come around and do nothing more than provide an estimate (preferably a quote), for a full flat re-wire. Nothing to large; just a modest sized two bedroomed ground floor flat, with easy parking - so no nasty traffic warden charges been added onto the final bill as extras - neighbours to die for, gorgeous flower gardens, the only fly (A380 size), most of the wiring dates back to the 1930's and the modern bits have been badly bodged, although not quite to the standard of the 1986 film; the Money Pit.

Initial thoughts had me chasing my own logic wondering whether it was worthwhile leafing through the Yellow Pages, the Phone Book or even the Thomson Directory, just to garner companies who's inclusion would prove some trailing history and not just flyby night operators. So it was, that after a brief flurry of activity, five numbers were called.

And that's were it all started going wrong.

People promising to come round or call back, but despite calls to them not neither bothering to come around nor call to say they weren't turning up. Forget the NICEIC, Trust Mark, Part P blurtings, I'm surprised any of them are allowed to carry the symbols or perhaps they need to be re-tested whilst having the inclusion of a new module titled 'how not to lose potential customers'.

So back to the drawing board and this time contacting another eight companies. To only go through the same procedure as with the first five. So 13 companies later, it was time to try a new tack and this time looked up a referral site, were you simply type in your requirements, contact details, then any interested parties would view and get in touch, but up to a maximum of four unless paid for membership – that should have instantly set of the clarions, but when in time of need. A smoking fuse box isn't to be sniffed at...

But to be fair out of four, all four turned up. All four arrived within their stated time, it was amazing, hope started to rise from burnt ashes. But that was the height of [%%] and from there it rapidly unravelled downhill.

After contacting 18 companies for re-wiring we are left with only 3 estimates and one quote, although when going through and spotting errors it necessitated an amendment and re-quote, that was done within a day! Sadly it was still the same quote with the same information. Either Electricians, whom I would have naturally viewed as forming a natural constituency of computer geekdom, are slightly less knowledgeable than the average person out there, or they think that every home owner's wet behind the ears and will more or less take everything at face-value and just sign the cheque at the end. Although I would be surprised if the last five which popped around had even begun wet-shaving!

But perhaps they aren't too bothered to earn (and from the three figures so far received it seems to be somewhere from £3,000 to a bit over £5,000) which been an estimate means it will probably come in at around £6,000. However, obviously £5k+ is not a sufficient enough carrot

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