How to Spot Rogue Electricians and Avoid Cowboy Builders

How to Spot Rogue Electricians and Avoid Cowboy Builders

How to Spot Rogue Electricians and Avoid Cowboy Builders

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Rogue Traders & Electricians

You may not be able to check the background or the company that approaches you, but there are signs that can tell you if they are trustworthy and reliable.

These are some of the top tips on spotting rogue electricians and avoid cowboy builders:

  • Watch out for the builders or electricians who give you an extremely cheap quote or estimate, or who insists very much that he would start the job right away. No matter how urgent the job may be, first you need to make sure the builder is trustworthy, he gives you a proper quote, and is even willing to estimate the job in writing.
  • Beware of the electricians that are not keen on giving you more details about their business (like the address, the landline number, other references from other jobs, etc). You may even go so far to check them out via the NICEIC website whether they are registered and approved. If you’re suspicious, you can visit “the wall of shame” and see if you find that electrician there…
  • It is very suspicious when a builder asks for money – whether the whole amount or a small advance – up front. They may say they need the money to buy the materials, etc but if they are a reliable builder, they should have enough funds to cover the initial costs. Also, make sure they do things exactly as they quote you, and if you need a VAT receipt, they should be able to give it to you.
  • If a builder claims he works for a company that has a good reputation, it doesn’t hurt if you double check that. Of course, if he arrives to you in an unmarked car / van, or if he doesn’t look and behave professionally, those should also be warning signs.

How to Avoid Cowboy Builders

It is not easy to spot or avoid this type of “cowboy builders” or “rogue electricians”. Sometimes they may insist, offer discounts, give you all kinds of promises, ask for a payment in advance, or even say, “I’ll do you a favour” or “I have some spare materials left over from a previous job, that’s why it’s so cheap!”

Whether you have a small project or a large project, it is good to take a written quote from them and muse over it for a day or two, while you check them out or ask around for a better quote.

You can search for their name or company name online, or in websites like UKFB, NICEIC, ESC, Electrical Safety Register, RatedPeople, MyBuilder, etc. The best way is to ask for a recommendation from your friends, family, your architect, co-workers, etc – people who already have had some electrical job done and are pleased with the electrician.

It is better to be slow and make an informed decision than to be quick in hiring someone and later be sorry!

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Comments (45)

  • jayandbob Reply

    ‘Ultimate tradesmen ltd based in Edinburgh’ and its company director Dean Blues. avoid at all costs!!

    September 22, 2014 at 10:39 pm
  • jayandbob Reply

    Avoid this terrible company based in Edinburgh. ‘Blues services’

    September 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm
  • Ardent1000 Reply

    Worst Cowboy I have ever come across is [b]Mark Fitttes[/b].

    You can see pictures of his work on the North East Section of the website.

    WeatherAll (NE) is owned by Mark Fittes who uses dodgy subcontractors and charged us VAT despite not being VAT Registered.

    Terrible Builder and a nasty piece of work.

    You will find him currently operating in the Ponteland and North East Area.

    Avoid Mark Fittes and his companies (WeatherAll (NE)) like the plague.

    Fittes likes to drive around in his girlfriends black Range Rover but don’t let that fool you, he doesn’t own the house he lives in, rents his tools and machinery and has previous unpaid CCJ’s.

    The company trade address is –

    8 Fellside
    NE20 9JW

    The company operates in the Ponteland/Newcastle/Northumberland and Durham areas.

    The owner and Director Mark Fittes is a real piece of work and his companies workmanship is terrible.

    WeatherAll (NE) are among the worst builders I have come across. The owner ended up trying to intimidate my dad who is in his 70’s after making the worst jobs I have ever seen in my life. His company even walked off the job once they had taken a sufficient amount of my parents money on 28th July 2014, leaving an awful unfinished dangerous mess.

    We later found out from Trading Standards that he wasn’t even VAT registered yet he charged us 20% VAT.

    The only time you see the Mark Fittes is when he is trying to extract money out of people.

    In terms of my parents job Mark Fittes WeatherAll just used cheap subcontractors, cheap materials and cheap hired equipment, whilst I have never actually witnessed him getting his own hands dirty. My poor parents are now having to pay a reputable builder to repair the original poor work, so are having to pay twice. The reputable builder even stated that it was the worst work he had seen in all his years in the trade, as did a second builder we also had take a look and give us an estimate. Indeed he was so horrified he even offered to write a report with regard to the poor workmanship, poor materials and numerous faults.

    Trading Standards told both his salesman (verbally) and him (via letter) to give my parents their money back including £1,376 VAT, whilst the police who came out to visit my parents agreed that what he had done constituted Fraud and I should imagine the VAT people will be wanting their money back from numerous other previous jobs which by all accounts run in to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Furthermore most of his transactions are on a cash basis, which makes me wonder if he hasn’t paid VAT since his present company was set up on the 11th June 2013, does this man even keep reliable books in relation to income tax, VAT and National Insurance.

    Every time you mention this man and his companies to the authorities, the first thing they say is that he’s well known to us. Indeed the Director of the company has previous unpaid CCJ’s if you care to check on-line.

    Luckily my dad is one of five brothers and my mum also comes from a large family so the word has been spread far and wide. My Dad has also spread the word at the local Golf Club and across the area I live in. My sister was also horrified by the mes left by WeatherAll as was her husband as well as other family members.

    Take my advice and steer well clear of WeatherAll (NE) and Mark Fittes who is total cowboy, who drives around in his girlfriends black range rover but has very little in the way of assets himself according to Trading Standards.

    You will know him if you see him, as he’s a smarmy and slimy type of individual, he also sometimes employs a fat salesman called Neil Farrer.

    Previous companies owned by this individual include WeatherAll Home Improvements at Unit 1, Front Street, Klondike, Cramlington, North East Home Improvements at Unit 10, Imex Business Centre Birtley, North East Building Solutions which has an address at Durham Road in Low Fell, Sunderland based BSG, and his latest company WeatherAll (NE) which is Ponteland based.

    Mark Fittes companies have a nasty habit of going belly up after a year or two and he constantly tries to get more money up front out of customers. Whilst Neil Farrer and Mark Fittes both have a history and were both Directors at BSG Contractors Limited (Sunderland) and North East Building Solutions (Low Fell) with Farrer having further building companies in relation to Angel Home Developments Limited (Sunderland) which a month after being dissolved became Angel Home Improvements Limited (Sunderland) before also being dissolved.

    WeatherAll are currently Ponteland based and operate in Northumberland and the North East of England.

    [b]You have been warned.[/b]

    Any complaints about Mark Fittes, Neil Farrer and WeatherAll or their subcontractors should be made straight to Northumberland Trading Standards, Northumbria Police/Durham Constabulary, HMRC and other such authorities.

    September 26, 2014 at 10:38 am
  • Davo Reply

    Boris the Builder aka dacrom developments .Total cowboy who charges a cheaper estimater that escalates. He employs inexperienced “tradesmen” who have not got a clue. Leaves masses of soil in the garden and shows no respect for neighbours. Typical of the Romanian cowboys coming here

    February 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm
  • S Smith Reply

    Beware Tyrone Liston of A T&S Bespoke builders of Beckenham. Tyrone is also the under 21 manager at East Grinstead Football Club. He operates a very slick and elaborate scam with a group of builders which involves doing very little and very basic work in a haphazard order whilst constantly lying and demanding more money. As soon as you wise up and restrict the flow of funds he will walk off the job!

    October 7, 2015 at 10:32 am
    • valerie Reply

      Hi S Smith
      We have the same problem with Tyrone Liston. Job abandoned not finished. Would like to know where and who to inform to stop this rogue builder to con someone else.

      October 30, 2015 at 11:38 pm
    • Tyrone Liston Reply

      I,had several meetings with Miss Smith and her partner we agreed fixed price quotation and signed a professional contract
      Listed below are a full list of agreed payment plan and under full guidance of Bromley Building control who visited the site on each occasion to sign of every stage of the project all these papers are available for anyone to view including bank payments for each stages as well as a full list of invoices for materials purchased and contact details for the building Inspector at Bromley
      28-07-2015. Contract signed
      30-07-2015. £3615.00 deposit due payment made late on 05–08-2015
      03-08-2015. £4066.00 foundations payment invoice 1 payment made late again on 11-08-2015
      10-08-2015. £4066.00 concrete & drainage payment 2 payment made late again on 14-08-2015
      17-08-2015. £4066.00 block work & insulation part ( 1 ) payment 3 made late again on 21-08-2105
      24-08-2015. £4066.00 block work & insulation part( 2 ) payment 4 made late again on 28-08-2105
      31-08-2015. £4066.00 roof timbers & VELUXE windows payment 5 only part payment of £2033.00 made late again 04-09-2015
      My team of builders walked off site due Miss Smith partner being very aggressive behaviour and due every payment made late,
      06-09-2015. I visited Miss Smith to agree clarity and resolution over late payments and non payment of payment 5 no agreement by both parties
      13-09-2015. I had a telephone converstion with Miss Smith of which I had recorded it was agreed that I would prurchaes materials and make roofers available to complete works of which on completion payment of £2066.00 to be paid by Miss Smith to roofers on completion
      14-09-2015 An agreement with Miss Smith for my 2 roofers to visit on 14-09-2015 to look at project with view of competing roof however Miss Smith called police to,report roofers of being burglars
      14-09-2105. Roofers refused to complete project due to the unreasonable behaviour of Miss Smith especially as her husband was in the property with her at the time of roofers knocking on her door I had to beg the roofers to undertake the works nd guarantee payment as they were of the opinion that Miss Smith would not pay on completions
      18-09-2015 Roofers worked all weekend including Sunday to complete the tiling and veluxe windows
      21-09-2015. Payment of £2066.00 asked for however Miss smith refused to pay unless lead works were also undertaken which was not part of the agreement
      22-09-2105. I asked roofers to co plate lead work with guarantee of payment again Miss Smith refused to make payment unless we removed all rubbish from the rear of her property ( it is apparent that this was another reason not to pay however I arranged for 2 skips and 4 labourers to remove all rubbish at a cost to myself of £960.00)
      25-09-2015. Again payment of £2066.00 asked for and again Miss Smith refused I paid the 2 roofers £2066.00 out of my own pocket of which I rceived invoice from roofers
      25-09-2105. I had a meeting with Miss Smith and her partner to discuss her constant late payments and refusals for keeping to agreements we had made verbally and by recordings of which will be used once we meet in court
      26-09-15. I emailed Miss Smith that has she had constantly paid late and refused to honour her agreement we would not be completing any more works due to her breaking her contract and payment plans
      07-10-2015. Papers have been served with Bromley Courts with all paper work, contract and telephone recording

      To conclude I have kept my word my integrity my honesty in fixed price payment plan and the quality of works which have been signd off by London Borough of Bromley

      We also had to ask for the metropolitan police to accompany us to regain our tools and property as Miss Smith refused to let us take our belongings and only with the threat of the police informing her that this was theft before we regained our belonging after several visits

      I will let you make your own mind up to integrity honesty and cowboy builder all information I have and is AVAILBLE on request to view including signed contract bank statement and invoice for materials

      November 26, 2015 at 9:50 pm
  • Tyrone Liston Reply

    I have responded to the comments made by S Smith however I see you have not posted them on your platform i await your response. Kind regards

    November 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm
  • S Smith Reply

    Tyrone is a salesman and talks a very good story. Fact is that he has performed the same scam on a number of homeowners in the surrounding areas.
    In each case work has been substandard and eventually abandoned. Trading standards are currently investigating complaints made by myself and others.
    The account above is a fabrication and the excessive detail is presumably intended to detract from the main issue i.e. his refusal to complete work already paid for.

    December 31, 2015 at 1:23 am
    • R Wall Reply

      Tyrone Liston is a blagger, all talk and no trousers

      He left me in a mess, he offers a cheap quote then gets his guys in, their work is poor and slow.

      I kicked them off, very stressful !

      They damagaed property on site and left a real mess. Costing way too much to sort out

      Don’t go near him – !!!

      Would love to take him to court , if anyone wants to join me

      January 17, 2016 at 9:16 am
      • Davis Reply

        I had the same problems with Tyrone Liston. But just letting you know that Trading Standards are now investigating because of the huge number of complaints, so I suggest you contact them

        September 20, 2017 at 5:58 am
    • Davis Reply

      Tyrones partner bill Simpson has just formed a building company WKS London, with his live in partner Rosella Simonetti, apparently when the heat is on they just close the business and start a new one! Bill and Tyrone are still scamming together

      September 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm
  • S Smith Reply

    Further to my own review and the comments of a lady named Valerie above – see tumblr for a blog (review) relating to Bespoke Builders. Also the following review by Liz Smith (no relation) which have been copied from a review on my relating to architectural firm Daxab ltd. Bespoke builders of Beckenham were apparently recommended by the architect.

    “We used Jack Chan to redraw our drawings, which he did. He then recommended/introduced Bespoke Builders (Tyrone Liston) to us to complete the works. Jack Chan did not disclose a substantial introduction fee equvalent to 4 times the cost of the drawings. We contracted Bbespoke Builders on a fixed fee contract. We were promised an extension that passed Wandsworth Council building regulations. They did not complete the works but lied to us and lead us to believe it was being signed off, it wasn’t. They did not use the correct materials as stated in the contract and built incompetently leaving us half way through the job with an extension that is not fit for purpose. They also defrauded us to pay additional costs to continue the build. We are now faced with substantial costs to rectify their mess. Avoid using his services and contacts”.

    January 4, 2016 at 12:28 am
  • Piter Devilliers Reply

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    April 13, 2016 at 5:57 am
  • Charles Berbeck Reply

    Tyrone Liston

    Stay away from Tyrone Liston and all associated companies; bespoke builders of Beckenham, A, T & S BESPOKE BUILDERS LLP, (DISSOLVED 44 Whitstone Lane, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 3FZ)

    They started work on the shell of a single storey rear extension job worth £42,000 in Hayes and within three days of work over two weeks I stopped them, they left my home in a mess, left timbers in concrete foundation and put the foundation in the wrong place and slept and urinated in my garden.

    It cost me thousands to put the work right and he has the audacity to claim I owe him money! For the work building control would not sign off and it had to be hatchback put right for thousands pounds.!!

    He is a rogue traders in my view only go and recommendations look forward to seeing him in court.

    July 6, 2016 at 6:50 pm
  • M brown Reply

    Please do not use Tyrone listings company bespoke builders! We have lost a huge amount of money to them (life savings)
    We are living in a shell of a house after his builders worked on it, tyrones been promising to fix it, no results, he’s not taking responsibility, He blames his builder and has told us we need to get the money from builders insurance, builders name is bhupinder baidwan. AKA Bobbi

    April 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm
    • Richard Wall Reply

      Do you know where Tyrone is – I have a CCJ against him and want him to pay!

      April 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm
      • Sharon Reply

        Hi – I have an idea – are you able to DM me?

        August 14, 2017 at 12:09 am
      • Davis Reply

        Trading Standards are now investigating Tyrones Ccompany, Facebook him, there’s a photo of the view from his. Patio ovelooking Crystal Palace training ground

        September 20, 2017 at 6:03 am
      • M brown Reply

        Have phone number and if you look on face, he lives overlooking Crystal Palace training ground

        September 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  • Richard Wall Reply

    I took him to court and he closed his business to avoid this. He was instructed to pay over £2800 to me by the courts. I have recovered some by freezing his bank account, and he is on the run – hopefully out of business

    He claims to have moved on from his address, so if you know where he is please tell me!

    April 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm
    • Yvonne Riley Reply

      I too have been Tyroned! I had a solictor run an asset check on him prior to a court case..the result was that he has nothing in his name and various outstanding ccj’s against him. As a result I did not go to court as I could not afford to lose more money..
      Having paid Tyrone for most of the substandard work that, like many of you, has to be redone. The man is thoroughly dishonest and should be stopped…how do we do this?

      May 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm
      • Coral Reply

        Hi Yvonne,
        Should we join together to do something. eg. go to the trading standards to report him or some better idea?

        September 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm
        • M brown Reply

          Would love to do something about Tyrone too

          September 21, 2017 at 1:07 pm
    • Casey Reply

      He is working in beckenham with his partner in crime Bill Simpson. Tyrone is living in a flat overlooking Crystal Palace training ground

      November 17, 2017 at 6:48 pm
  • Anonymous Reply

    Thanks SO much for these comments. We were considering using Tyrone! He is on 0203 851 6276, current address according to his paperwork is 44 Whitestone Lane Beckenham Kent BR3 3FZ

    May 11, 2017 at 4:36 pm
    • M brown Reply

      Would love to do something about Tyrone too I that’s his partner bills exwifes address

      September 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm
  • jill Reply


    Currently trading in Sunderland, Newcastle area after running from Scotland

    Facebook group: Dean Blues conman, scam artist cowboy builder

    Banned from performing work as he is so dangerous.

    June 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm
  • maggie Reply


    in Newcastle area, but used to do work in Edinburgh. Banned by HSE and often uses different names (Deano or Alan)

    this man is very very dangerous.

    facebook group: Dean Blues CON MAN SCAM ARTIST COWBOY BUILDER.

    do not let in your house his electric and gas work has been described at ‘extremely dangerous’ by professionals.

    June 10, 2017 at 10:09 pm
  • Coral Reply

    Whether anybody know whether Tyrone will run away without completing the work? I paid off all my money for £32300 for the extension but he disappeared for one month already and nobody working on the site anymore. I am in panic at the moment. I tried to call him and text him but he is not answering!

    July 20, 2017 at 11:40 am
    • Davis Reply

      Please if you can afford it then try taking the company to court, one year after signing a contract they have gone to ground, Tyrone promised me every week for 6 months that he would sort things, now he hasn’t answered his phone for 3 months.

      September 18, 2017 at 4:51 pm
  • cook Reply

    Please please do not employ the company Bespoke Builder of Beckenham, And their directors Tyrone Liston, William Simpson and Ted Baker, also one of their contractors Bhupinder Baidwan AKA. Bobbi, they have taken our life savings and left us with our house a dangerous wreck! Electrics, foundations, roof, plumbing, Inspectors will not sign off their work. Liston has now gone to ground and not answering calls! Inspectors are saying it’s the worst case of cowboy builders they have seen.
    They are a very slick operation, don’t do it!!

    August 4, 2017 at 8:09 am
  • M, brown Reply

    Bespoke Builders Beckenham, Tyrone Liston, Ted Baker, Bill Simpson, and their contractor Bobbi. AKA. Bhupinder Baidwan, extremely slick cowboy company, left us 88,000 thousand pound down and a house which no reputable inspector will sign off, too long to mention the damage. Just google Tyrone Liston

    August 27, 2017 at 10:46 am
  • Coral Reply

    They are such a liar! especially William Simpson (Bill) He owns a company called WKS London. don’t use that as well. He is lying to me every single time. never believe them. I paid them all of my saving of 36000 and now the shell even not finish and no roof at all yet. I think we need to do something to kick Tyrone and Bill out of this business. If they keep doing that, there will be just more people become victims. that address 44 Whitestone Lane Beckenham Kent BR3 3FZ is his ex wift’s address. he doesn’t live there. whether anybody has an idea what we should do to shop it?

    September 3, 2017 at 7:27 pm
  • John Reply

    Re. Bespoke Builders Beckenham. Everybody call Consumer Direct 0345 404 0506.

    Ask for Bromley trading standards and give the company name.

    They are looking into it but need more info.

    September 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm
  • Davis Reply

    Do not have anything to do with Bill Simpson to Tyrone Liston of Bespoke Builder Beckenham. They are total scum! One year after they took our money 80,000 pound we are still left with a house which we are trying to make habitable. They seemed like professionals with a slick fake portfolio, Please take notice of their reviews, not the fake ones! Thieves and liars

    September 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm
  • Casey Reply

    Stay away from WKSLondon, as bill Simpson one of the directors, and his father in law who’s a partner are connected to tyrone Liston, who when the heat is on just closes down one business and starts another! A bunch of cowboy builders who sweet talk you, take your money and run! Have. Look At the website, slick. But thieves

    September 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm
  • Coral Reply

    I totally agreed with what you said about Bill and Tyrone, they are together and they are thieves. The trading standards has called me and the officer call John. He is investigating Tyrone and Bill at the moment. Please everyone makes your phone calls as well. 03454040506 Don’t let them get away from that! Could you please contact me as well. my email address is [email protected]
    If we all stay together and got all the proofs and report to the police, they can go to the prison. Please take action now.
    I paid them all of my life saving of £36000 for an extension. They only half built the bricks without any windows, roof, floors. And what they did is worthy only £10000. And after that, they run away. I don’t have any money now and is living in a miserable situation. They kept closing down one company and open another one. Bill took my money and went to Italy for holiday for one month and paid the fee and trusted trader for advertising his own company WKS London. That is ridiculous. Please contact me and take action. Thanks.

    October 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm
  • Coral Reply

    I completely agreed with what you said that they are together and they are thieves.
    I have already got a phone call from trading standards and they are investigating on them. So please make the phone call now to trading standards on 03454040506 and report them. When there are enough proof they can go to the prison.
    I paid them all of my life saving and the job even not half finished yet. The house is no window, no roof, half brick build and I am living in a miserable condition at the moment. No any more money to continue the work.
    Bill used my money to go to Italy for one month holiday and paid for the fee to get himself in the trusted trader. That is ridiculous. Please take action now.

    October 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm
  • cook Reply

    Tyrones sub contractor know n as Bobby. Full name Bhupinder Badwain, is the worst of that bunch of thieves, contracted to do the work and paid two unskilled men to do the electrics and plumbing, told us they were qualified, had to get an inspector in after Bobby had run off. Inspector said the whole lot was dangerous and it had to be done again! By the way , Bobby is trying for an MBE! He heads a company called Humanity Africa, supposedly to help the starving in Africa……..I bet!!
    We have now joined the others on here and have contacted trading standards, anyone that hasn’t done it, please do the same, let’s stop these cowboys. Bobbys partner in crime, Bill Simpson has started up another company. WKS London with his father in law, who I have heard is another horror story, who likes to intimidate people. Beware

    November 9, 2017 at 8:32 pm
  • John Reply

    Trading standards have known about Tyrone for over 2 years now and seem to have a Mañana attitude.. The person dealing with it has now gone on extended leave.

    December 2, 2017 at 12:45 am
  • Casey Reply

    Tyrone and his dodgy builders will ruin your home and life! Be warned

    February 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm
  • Coral Reply

    It is 10 months now since my job started. They did a little bit and run away since July. With the help of John in trading standards, Tyrone now comes back to carry on the work. He is claiming that Bill took all the money and run away so he needs to fund the job out of his own pocket. So it is very slow at the moment. But if this is true as what he said then i will accept it as long as he can complete it. I don’t have any other choice. Bill still owns me all the money for building a porch and he didn’t do anything and completely disappeared now. I would advise no one use Bill ( William Simpson of WKS London) as they are cowboys and will take your money and run!

    February 7, 2018 at 9:10 pm
  • John Reply

    Coral, please be sure to get trading standards to inspect every step of the way.

    February 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm
  • Coral Reply

    Thanks For reminding me John. I don’t trust the builder that was sent by Tyrone. Now I arranged builder by myself and asked Tyrone to pay them.
    Two weeks ago building control came to check the floor and steel works and it was ok. Fingers crossed.

    February 15, 2018 at 1:02 am

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