Preston’s second man loses nearly £30,000 after building company goes into liquidation

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A Fulwood man says he was left with a crumbling house and garden, and £25,600 out of pocket by Ultra Restore.

Anup Raj, a specialist biomedical scientist at the Royal Bolton Hospital, says he approached Billee Hopkinson in July after seeing him working on a neighbour’s property, but was ‘heartbroken’ when left without finishing the job.

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The misery of the Preston man as he is left surrounded by rubble and over £6,000 taken out…

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Anup Raj says Ultra Restore left him with a crumbling house and garden, and £25,600 out of pocket.

The couple agreed a price of £65,000 for the works, a quote Anup says was similar to other builders, but slightly better, and the day after the price was agreed, Anup was told he had to pay £20,000 up front, which he did.

Anup, 44, who lives with his wife, 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, said: “The reason he wanted to get the bail was because of the deliveries and the material so that everything could happen to time. He was supposed to start work on the 20th of September and he mentioned that we will have a lot of things before that, so we are not expecting anything because there are long lines, and we continued to listen to the news about the shortage drivers and everything. like that, but now I realize that was just an excuse.

Anup says work was delayed and when it finally started, demolition was followed by only small amounts of foundation work.

He said: “From then on there was no delivery, nothing was actually happening, and there were excuses all the time, bad weather, Covid, tire punctures.”

Anup says the work done by Ultra Restore was slow and did not live up to his expectations.

On several occasions, Anup was told that deliveries were coming to the house and that he would trade shifts at the hospital to be there, but nothing ever came.

In October Anup was asked to pay an additional £5,600 up front for the wood due to shortage concerns, which he paid as Billee had ‘mentioned one of the local suppliers’ and sounded like ‘he had everything planned”, but again this wood never came.

Overall, Anup says work continued from September to November, but at an extremely slow pace, and not to the expected standard, with badly colored bricks, wobbly walls and shallow trenches.

He said: “In three months the only thing he did was dig the foundation and pour the concrete trench block down to ground level – that’s it.”

Photos taken of Anup’s property on December 28, before he attempted to repair what was left.

In December Billee asked for an additional £8,000 to order windows and doors, which Anup refused as there were no walls to install them.

The last day the pair spoke was December 16, and Anup received an email on the 20th from the insolvency practitioner saying Ultra Restore had gone into liquidation, which “was really devastating for me,” he said.

“But now the situation is that because he took a lot of money and he’s in liquidation, we don’t know if we can get our money back or not because the lawyer says he doesn’t has no money.

“I’m going to be in a lot of trouble financially, I’m so stressed, I can’t sleep now, yesterday I woke up at two o’clock, then four o’clock, because it’s so disturbing to see outside.

Anup has tried to pick up where Ultra Restore left off and says he has no issues with deliveries.

“It’s going to affect us in the long run, because we’ve remortgaged our house to do this job. We still want to move on, but we probably won’t be able to do everything, and we have to borrow more money because I have to sort out some things.

“We just started working and I don’t know if things have improved with the delivery drivers or the materials, but every time I order something it arrives the next day so there’s no problem. at all.”

Asked about Anup’s story, a spokesperson for Trading Standards said: “Lancashire County Council Trading Standards have confirmed that they are currently analyzing all information received. Any further information regarding this trader should be sent to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133, who will forward the relevant information to the relevant trading standards department.”

Offering his advice to others, Anup said: ‘Even with Covid and Brexit don’t pay so much up front, and please ask your contractor who their suppliers are, if they ask for more money ask them Why. If you can pay their suppliers directly, even better, a good builder won’t say no.

“There are plenty of good people around, I was so overwhelmed with messages and phone calls from people saying they could fix this.

“For me, it’s hard to trust someone right away because I’ve been through so much, but I think there are still good people out there, just make sure your contractor is right, do- check it out by someone.”

Anup warns others to double-check their builders and not pay as much upfront as he does.

Billee Hopkinson vehemently denies all of these claims, and you can read her full side of the story here.

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