‘We just want a garden’

Tim Porter has had problems with his garden at his home on Fernagh Road. INNT 24-013-FP
Tim Porter has had problems with his garden at his home on Fernagh Road. INNT 24-013-FP

A WHITEABBEY man has highlighted the importance of thoroughly researching contractors before spending thousands of pounds on building work.

Tim Potter employed a landscaping company to carry out extensive work at his Fernagh Road property.

However, almost five years on he is locked in a dispute with the business over problems with the work.

The volunteer worker paid over £2,000 to have his garden landscaped, paths installed and a new driveway put in.

However, just one week after it was finished the problems began for the family.

Tim said: “At first we thought it was a great job, it really looked good, we even told people we were delighted with the work but then after a week the gate fell off and the problems began.”

He went on: “The path and the driveway are not level and there is no proper drainage, meaning every time it rains the garden floods.

“As well as damaging a sewerage pipe, they did not put in enough soil and the grass can’t grow - it really is a disaster.”

The father of three said that when he first complained the company were apologetic.

He added: “He was straight out and said the person responsible had been sacked, but it’s been years now and the problems have not been fixed.

“Now the company won’t answer my calls and we are left with a garden we can’t use.

“We researched the company before employing them, they were not the dearest and they were not the cheapest quote and they looked the part.

“I’m a volunteer and my wife is a childminder so we don’t have a lot of money, and even before we employed the company I worked on the garden for a year to keep the cost down.

“For us it is not about the money now, we just want a garden our children can enjoy.”

When the Times contacted the company that Mr Potter claimed had carried out the work, they denied all knowledge of his complaints and indeed that they were even behind the works.

Mr Potter added: “We can’t find the receipts, or even remember if he ever gave us one. We may just have to chalk this one up to experience.

“But it shows you the importance of making sure you get the right person in when you are doing any type of major work and I hope others are not misled the way we were.”

A spokesman for Trading Standards advised people to be aware of their rights and to shop around for quotes.

He added: “If consumers are concerned or have a complaint about work carried out by companies they should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or alternatively log onto the Consumerline website: www.consumerline.org”.