Episode 9 Cowboy Trap


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Episode 9

Cowboy Trap visits Newcastle to meet a couple whose new shower room and toilet for their foster children were left unfinished by builders.


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Cowboy builders are ruining people's lives across the country.

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Shoddy workmanship, missed deadlines and what can only be described as daylight robbery.

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Every time she talks about it it gets to her

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because it was money I'd saved for me daughter getting married.

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And it seems to me that they just keep getting away with it.

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Bang, bang, bang, bang, as all the bolts were shooting out of the wall.

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Our team of experts are on hand to right the wrongs and offer

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a glimmer of hope to those that have been tricked by these conmen.

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I can't believe it, can you?

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With my top tips and insider advice, it's my mission

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to help prevent you from falling into the cowboy trap.

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Today, we'll be visiting the small village of Lumsden in Aberdeenshire,

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where retired couple Beverley and Gordon Cameron

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had high hopes for some contemporary canopies.

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I'd hoped for two canopies,

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one to go on the side of the house

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so I could work on the car if I wanted to in the bad weather,

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and the other one at the rear of the house

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just to give us a bit more shelter at the back.

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But the Cameron's retirement dreams fell apart

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when they hired a bodging builder.

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It was lovely when it was done.

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But it was a terrible shock when it collapsed.

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It was just unbelievable.

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And later, we're in Newcastle, where Carole and George Young planned

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a kitchen and bathroom extension

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to help them meet the demands of being foster parents.

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We thought an extension or an extra toilet on the back

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would be ideal for us, especially if we had younger children

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who are in and out all the time.

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But they ended up with a cowboy who didn't give a hoot about this caring couple.

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We had a big hole there.

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And, I mean, it was cold.

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You had no windows in. And no insulation.

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And just thinking, "Well, you know, what do we do?"

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First up, we're in the idyllic village

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of Lumsden, in Aberdeenshire, where a couple's dreams

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of a peaceful, carefree retirement, were left shattered by a cowboy builder

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who took their money and left them with a canopy calamity.

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Beverley and Gordon Cameron have lived in the same home

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for the past 30 years. They love it.

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And once their three children had grown up, they decided to carry out

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some improvements to enjoy their retirement to the full.

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Gordon's always fancied canopies at the side of

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the house, in particular to put the car under when he's working.

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I particularly wanted one at the back of the house

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because I thought it would be nice, you know,

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stepping straight out of the French windows under cover

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and having somewhere to sit in the summertime.

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The Camerons were keen to get their undercover haven underway

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and began to search for the right man for the job.

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We found there was a company, a large company,

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down in Lancashire that did these particular canopies,

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so we got in touch with those and then they put us in touch

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with their local dealer who lived nearer to us.

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This gentleman who we'd been referred to came to see us

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and we told him what we wanted.

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He inspected the walls and everything. Took all the information.

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Because we live up in Scotland,

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we queried about the weather because we do get more snow and,

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"No, no, no bother at all," he said,

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"I've installed canopies in far colder, worse places than this."

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So we just thought this would be really nice to have,

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so delved into, you know... You've saved your money, so let's go for it.

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The Camerons were disappointed the canopy company

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couldn't fit as far north as Aberdeenshire.

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So they hired a local builder to fit them

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and in no time at all, the smart new canopies were up.

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Three months later, they fell down,

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narrowly missing one of us.

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And luckily, my son had gone to work

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otherwise his car would have been smashed by the other one.

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The builder should count himself lucky no-one was seriously hurt.

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He did come back to fix the collapsed canopy and repair the wall,

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but the Camerons were very unhappy with the repairs carried out.

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When we looked at the rear wall,

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oh, it was disgusting.

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To call that repair work.

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It wasn't even flush.

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He'd made a mess of doing the repair, completely.

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The water doesn't drain away at all

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because of the way they install the guttering.

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We had to pay a deposit of 3, 800 something on the day

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that we agreed for the contract to go ahead.

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We had to pay the final amount the actual day the job was finished.

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The final bill from their retirement savings was...

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but two years later, the Camerons are still counting the cost

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of the bodged installation which damaged their home and their finances.

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That was damaged at the back of there.

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The guttering, they've just filled that up with sealant

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and also that bracket is fitted incorrectly.

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It should be round the other way.

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There's a left hand and a right hand and they put the wrong hand up.

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The guttering there doesn't drain properly because of the way they fitted it.

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That was how they left it when they came back

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and reinstalled the canopy after it had collapsed.

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Wow. I wouldn't have wanted to be

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anywhere near that canopy when it came crashing down.

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Things are just as bad round the back.

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This is the rear canopy that collapsed with the weight of the snow.

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And it pulled the stonework from the corner there,

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pulled that out completely.

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I managed to put a door underneath it to keep it upright.

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It pulled the lintel out and twisted it.

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And it also pulled out and moved the other bracket

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on to the guttering over there.

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After that happened, they came back

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and made a patchwork repair of the lintel which was a mess.

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I then had to fork out another £1,300 to get

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a new lintel fitted and repointed again.

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The Camerons' dream has brought nothing but heartache,

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but fortunately, this canny couple collected all the evidence

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as things went wrong. Here's my top tip.

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If you're not happy with the quality of your builder's work,

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or faults develop later, it's a good idea to take photographs.

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In the case of the Camerons collapsed canopy,

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their picture is worth a thousand words.

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If you do end up in court, evidence like a photo

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showing a canopy collapse under the weight of snow,

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can help make your case.

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It's time to find out exactly what's happened.

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The Camerons' canopies shouldn't have collapsed

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with the first fall of snow.

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These canopies should be able to withstand that sort of thing.

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They know the area you live in as well,

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so it should be able to withstand that and it didn't.

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Gordon did query at the time about the bolts that he used

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and he did ask him, "Why have you only used two bolts

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"when the facility's there for three bolts?"

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-Well spotted.

-He said, "We only ever use two."

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-and I thought well, he's the expert, not me.

-We only use two.

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Why do you think three holes are made into the actual material?

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For three bolts.

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He came back after the canopies collapsed

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and reinstalled the one canopy.

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And fitted legs to it which we didn't know he was going to fit.

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He fitted two legs to it.

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The rear canopy he couldn't install because they'd drilled

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into the lintel and it had twisted the lintel block, pulled it out.

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He did a repair on it which...

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-Was disgusting.

-A kid of six could have done better.

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-It was a disgrace.

-There was no money in it for him though.

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There was no money in it now.

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I watched him and he was picking up stones out of the garden

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and putting in to fill in because the wall had been damaged so much.

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You've been done over, two lovely people, what does that feel like?

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It's a terrible shock. Yeah.

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And stressful and angry.

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Very angry and frustrated.

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What could we do to help?

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What you could do to help really is to come and install the canopies

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as they should have been done in the first place.

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Help us get what we paid all that money for.

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I think it's high time we got the good guys in to clear up this mess

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and give Beverley and Gordon the retirement they've dreamed of.

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The good guys have got plenty to do here to complete this couple's dream.

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At the side, the canopy will have to be reinstalled

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so that Gordon can work on his car safely undercover

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confident the whole thing won't come down on his head.

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And we'll remove those unsightly legs.

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At the rear, we need to rehang and secure the canopy

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which Beverley hoped would shelter her from the elements.

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Coming up, the Camerons are in for a bit of a surprise when their

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builder answers the phone and makes them an offer they can't refuse.

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I'm getting the thumbs up and the nod.

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Next, I'm heading to Tyneside, watched over by the angel of the North.

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The Youngs live in Newcastle.

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They'd hoped their builder was heaven sent, but he took them to hell and back.

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Carole and George have lived in this happy home for 34 years.

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They raised their three children here and they decided

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they could give other kids a home, too, and became foster parents.

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To cope with the extra demands, they decided to extend the kitchen

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and add a new toilet and shower room downstairs.

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We had two children, the twins, Ryan and Rebecca were still at home then.

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We had two foster children here.

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So you had set times to get into the bathroom upstairs.

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What we decided was it would be nice

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to have a downstairs toilet and shower room.

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In the mornings, you know, we could have two showers going

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if needed or a shower and a bath going upstairs.

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We want a calm house, kind of thing, you know, because that's

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part of fostering, if you've got challenging behaviours

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or you've got a child with a problem.

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Things have got to be calm in the home, you know?

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The Youngs drew up plans to enlarge the kitchen and add a shower room

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and separate toilet, so the morning routine for all the children

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staying with them would run like clockwork.

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Time then to find a builder.

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Carole and George are really busy people,

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so they needed a builder who could start as soon as possible.

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So, they chose someone they thought they could trust.

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There's a couple of lads I work with, who I've worked with for some time,

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nice lads, and I happened to mention that we'd had our plans passed and we're looking for a builder.

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And one of the lads said, "My dad does quite a lot of work, good work.

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"He says would you want him to give you a price?"

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I says, "Yeah, that'd be fine, yeah."

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The first thing the builder did was to try and big up his part

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by offering to take on lots of extra jobs,

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as well as the brickwork the Youngs had in mind.

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At first, I said, "Can you just do the brickwork?"

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He says, "I'd rather give you a price for doing the whole extension,

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"because I have my own roofers who are excellent.

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"I have my own window fitter who's top quality.

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"These people are what I class as tried, tested, by me."

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And I thought, "If he uses them on all his jobs, we'll just go with that."

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Follow my top tips to stay out of trouble.

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If you're going to hire a general builder

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to take on your entire project,

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and pick his own contractors, then go and see their previous work.

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That way you can make sure you'll have the best people for your job,

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not just the builder's best mates.

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The Youngs' builder promised a brick extension,

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complete with roof, drainage, French doors and window,

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plaster boarded walls and a fully completed shower room.

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He made good progress with the brickwork,

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but then things slowed right down and the excuses came thick and fast.

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He couldn't contact the plasterer, the window making machine

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was broken, the fitter wasn't answering. You get the picture.

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Half the time we didn't know if he was coming or going.

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And it was a case of, "Are you coming today or are you not?"

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You know, "Well, I'm rained off today, I'm going to be on this other job."

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By this time, I was starting to think hang on here,

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I mean, there's people not turning up,

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so basically, what we had was a shell with a roof on

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and a big empty room with no windows in.

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The builder took advantage of this couple and every time they

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handed over their hard earned cash, he would disappear.

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The Youngs' cowboy went off with over 7,500 grand of their cash,

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but left them without windows,

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without plastered walls and no shower or toilet.

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Obviously, I was upset. I was mad and upset.

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But Carole was upset because you had a big hole there.

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And I mean, it was cold. You had no windows in and no insulation.

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And it's September, and just thinking well, you know, "What do I do?"

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The Youngs' builder was hired to help them

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keep their house calm so they could give a loving

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and secure home to the kids they were fostering.

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Instead, he left them in the lurch with a half-built shell and a lot of stress.

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But I really need to find out exactly what went wrong.

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-Hello. Carole?

-Hello. Yes.

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I am Clive from Cowboy Trap.

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-How are you?

-I'm fine, thank you.

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-I hear that you've had problems with a cowboy builder.

-Yes. We have.

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-Do you mind showing me the damage?

-Come in.

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The Youngs have had to spend extra cash

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to complete lots of unfinished work their cowboy left behind.

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But they're short of funds and there's clearly lots left to do.

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This is like the new extension, just from here down to here.

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Right. OK.

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Now, in terms of your wet room, what was going on in here?

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This was just a shell, Clive.

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There was nothing there. Just the bare breezeblock wall.

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-OK.

-The whole shell was breezeblock.

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There was nothing at all finished off inside.

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Well, it's certainly unfinished, let's put it like that, at this stage.

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It's that he left you in the lurch with no windows, no doors, no border.

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And of course, in your wet room. OK.

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Well, this is the cloakroom, Clive. The same again here.

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This was just left with breezeblock walls.

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We've bordered it and had it plastered.

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-So you plaster boarded it out?

-Yeah. We had somebody in. Yes.

-OK.

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-Somebody else plaster boarded.

-And put the window in.

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Yeah. The window. And the ceiling next door. Window plaster boarded.

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This was just like, as I say, concrete.

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There's loads still unfinished here.

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I want to know what our team of good guys can do to help

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and what work the Youngs have had to do since the builder left.

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What was left in there?

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How was it looking?

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You've got walls and a roof on.

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No windows. No doors. It was freezing.

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And when he left in September, we thought

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we'll try and get something sorted by December.

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It's cold and so you can imagine that extension,

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what we've seen today, Clive, had no windows, no doors, no insulation.

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What can we do, all right, to make things a little better?

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Just finish the shower room and the toilet.

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-That's really all we need.

-Would that make you happy?

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Then we can just get on with our lives, can't we?

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-That would make you very happy.

-Yeah.

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-Yeah.

-That's good cos that'll please me then.

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The Youngs' builder left them with loads of work unfinished,

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but we can help give them that final lift

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so they can put their troubles behind them.

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This wet room has been a total washout.

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It's time to put things right.

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Let's bring on the good guys.

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Our guys have got their work cut out

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over the next couple of days to restore Carole and George's faith.

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We need to line the walls of the shower ready for tiling.

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Tile the walls and floors throughout and complete the plumbing

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and drainage for the shower in the wet room.

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In the separate toilet, there's more tiling to do

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and we'll complete the installation of hand basin and toilet.

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Coming up, we'll discover how an independent inspector

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rates the tiny amount of work the original builder actually did.

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The bricks have been butchered.

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Meanwhile, back in Aberdeenshire, Gordon Cameron was looking forward to a happy retirement

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tinkering with his car under a brand new car port canopy.

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In fact, he and wife Beverley wanted his and hers canopies.

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Beverley would have her very own covered sanctuary out the back.

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But those dreams were shattered when their bodging builder left them with a canopy catastrophe.

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I could hear bang, bang, bang, bang as all the bolts were shooting out of the wall.

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And when the builder came back to re-hang the canopies,

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things went from bad to worse.

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The gable-end canopy had been pushed back up, but very poorly

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and it was in an entirely different position to the original place.

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It was further forward to the front of the house and lower down.

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And it hadn't been finished off properly.

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And the drainage pipe, of course, was just hanging at an angle

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cos it didn't reach the drain any more.

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In total, the Camerons paid their builder £9,000

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to supply and fit the two canopies.

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Although he did come back and refit them when they fell,

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Beverley and Gordon are far from happy with the work.

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They worry the canopies are unsafe and may hurt someone.

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We've asked the manufacturer to come and inspect the installation

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and tell us if they've been fitted correctly.

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We've been asked to come out and assess the canopy

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and it's fair to say that it wasn't installed

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to the best of what I would have thought their ability.

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It was physically leaking.

0:18:470:18:49

There were areas where the water was coming through.

0:18:490:18:52

Purely and simply, it just hadn't been sealed correctly at all.

0:18:520:18:56

There was no vertical brackets that had been installed.

0:18:560:18:59

There was no gallows brackets installed and that is a paramount

0:18:590:19:04

procedure that you have to do when installing a canopy of this sort of projection.

0:19:040:19:08

But how is it actually secured together?

0:19:080:19:10

Was he using the right bolts, that sort of thing?

0:19:100:19:13

I mean, in fairness, he had used the correct raw bolts

0:19:130:19:16

to put the beams on the wall, but he fitted them directly to the wall.

0:19:160:19:20

And what he'd also done, he'd only applied two raw bolts

0:19:200:19:23

per beam which is, again, really going against the grain.

0:19:230:19:27

This should be a minimum of three raw bolts in that size of beam.

0:19:270:19:31

With the whole thing collapsing, it could have been dangerous.

0:19:310:19:34

-They're fibreglass, the corrugation at the top.

-That's right.

0:19:340:19:37

But in real terms, falling with snow on it or whatever,

0:19:370:19:41

that could have put anybody in danger, even the postie who's coming through.

0:19:410:19:46

So, if I could ask you one question,

0:19:460:19:47

in terms of the work that was carried out here,

0:19:470:19:50

if you were to give it a mark out of ten, what would you give it?

0:19:500:19:53

-I'd be pushed to say four and a half.

-Four and a half.

0:19:530:19:58

Again, for saying that it'd actually come down, he's doing well.

0:19:580:20:02

I think that's quite generous at four and a half.

0:20:020:20:04

The guys are going to install the canopy as it should be fitted,

0:20:040:20:08

making absolutely sure there's no chance of collapse.

0:20:080:20:12

They'll be removing the unsightly support legs that were

0:20:120:20:15

never part of the original plan and interrupt the view into the garden.

0:20:150:20:20

While the guys get cracking, I want to track back

0:20:200:20:22

with the Camerons to find out how their builder managed to ruin their plans

0:20:220:20:26

for a relaxing retirement.

0:20:260:20:29

So you're happy to hand over the money?

0:20:290:20:30

You're standing back going that's exactly what I want. Is that correct?

0:20:300:20:35

-Yeah.

-But we know that disaster was looming, somewhere along the line.

0:20:350:20:40

Did you offer them any further work beyond that?

0:20:400:20:42

We did offer them further work, yes,

0:20:420:20:45

because the rear canopy was going to have side panels installed.

0:20:450:20:49

He said he hadn't got them, but if we gave him a £2,000 deposit,

0:20:490:20:53

he would get the side panels and install them.

0:20:530:20:57

So, you did.

0:20:570:20:59

I gave him a £2,000 deposit.

0:20:590:21:01

-OK. For your side panels?

-Yes.

0:21:010:21:04

-What did you get for the two grand?

-Nothing.

-Get out!

0:21:040:21:07

-Nothing. Not a thing.

-Not a thing.

0:21:070:21:11

It makes my blood boil to see this couple who had such

0:21:110:21:14

happy dreams of their retirement,

0:21:140:21:16

handing over their savings and getting nothing in return.

0:21:160:21:19

Their son Chris is angry his parents have lost out to their builder.

0:21:190:21:24

When it fell down, there was the building repairs to do.

0:21:240:21:26

He didn't do them properly.

0:21:260:21:29

And then he tried to claim money for repairing the work

0:21:290:21:31

that was his fault in the first place.

0:21:310:21:33

And he's still got £2,000 for a deposit

0:21:330:21:36

for a job he hasn't done or even begun to do.

0:21:360:21:39

We want this job done to the manufacturer's exact specifications,

0:21:390:21:44

although they don't normally install this far north,

0:21:440:21:47

they've come especially to help the Camerons.

0:21:470:21:50

Stuart Miller is the operations manager

0:21:500:21:52

and he'll be running our job today.

0:21:520:21:54

He's going to make sure the full weight of the canopy

0:21:540:21:57

is evenly supported so we can remove those unsightly legs.

0:21:570:22:02

These posts here were from the original build. Yeah?

0:22:020:22:05

-That's right.

-You don't need these any more.

0:22:050:22:07

The poles shouldn't be needing to go in,

0:22:070:22:10

because what we've done is put vertical brackets on

0:22:100:22:13

which are actually taking the load there on the wall.

0:22:130:22:16

There's three studs there. The beam is fixed to those studs

0:22:160:22:20

and then the gallows bracket will go underneath and that is

0:22:200:22:23

supporting the whole structure, so you're doing away with poles.

0:22:230:22:27

That's the purpose of having a cantilever system.

0:22:270:22:29

I want to know what the Camerons would like to say to their

0:22:290:22:33

bodging builder who promised them canopies,

0:22:330:22:36

but delivered them a calamity.

0:22:360:22:38

Now, if you had an opportunity to speak to him,

0:22:380:22:43

what would you like to say?

0:22:430:22:45

I know what I'd like to ask, why he's left us in such a mess?

0:22:450:22:49

I would like to know if he's going to give me my £2,000 back,

0:22:490:22:54

which he's no reason to keep because he hasn't even supplied the goods.

0:22:540:22:58

-He just took the money and run.

-Yeah.

0:22:580:23:00

-PHONE RINGS

-Here we go.

0:23:000:23:02

'Usually, builders who take money without supplying the goods,

0:23:020:23:06

'avoid answering their phone, but this one is about to surprise me.

0:23:060:23:10

'Time for some answers.'

0:23:100:23:12

Well, can you tell me, why did you leave me in such a mess with these canopies?

0:23:120:23:16

And my £2,000 that you've had and for the goods I've never received?

0:23:160:23:21

'The builder says he did lots of extra work on the property.

0:23:210:23:23

'The Camerons say this was to fix his mistakes.

0:23:230:23:27

'I think they deserve their two grand back, at the very least.'

0:23:270:23:31

It's Clive from BBC's Cowboy Trap here. I think as a goodwill gesture,

0:23:310:23:37

you should be giving them the two grand back.

0:23:370:23:40

'So he says he'll agree to this request on one condition.

0:23:400:23:44

'Beverley and Gordon must agree the refund puts an end to the matter.'

0:23:440:23:49

I'm getting the thumbs up and the nod.

0:23:490:23:51

They're telling me that that will be the end of the matter

0:23:510:23:55

if we can come up with an agreement to get the two grand back.

0:23:550:23:58

'With everyone in agreement to the negotiation, the builder says he'll

0:23:580:24:03

'post a cheque first thing in the morning.'

0:24:030:24:06

I think that's fantastic news.

0:24:060:24:08

Thanks for talking to us. Bye.

0:24:080:24:10

Do you think he will?

0:24:130:24:16

I think...

0:24:160:24:18

Well, that's the £2,000 question.

0:24:180:24:20

Will he or won't he post the cheque?

0:24:200:24:23

Frankly, I've heard it all before, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

0:24:230:24:26

Coming up, I can't wait to see the Cameron's reaction

0:24:260:24:30

when I show them what the good guys are capable of.

0:24:300:24:33

I don't believe it.

0:24:330:24:35

Back in Newcastle, Carole and George Young wanted a kitchen extension

0:24:360:24:41

with extra shower room and toilet to help them cope

0:24:410:24:45

with the demands of being busy foster parents.

0:24:450:24:47

But their builder left them with barely a shell.

0:24:470:24:50

No windows, no interior walls, no wet room.

0:24:500:24:54

Just that dirty feeling you get when you've been had.

0:24:540:24:58

The emotional cost has been almost as high as the 7,500 grand they paid out.

0:24:580:25:03

I'm an easy-going person.

0:25:030:25:04

I mean, Carole's got a lovely nature, but you bite, you snap,

0:25:040:25:07

and it's as if, how do I put it, any little thing triggers you off

0:25:070:25:11

and it's all down to what's happened here, you know?

0:25:110:25:15

Daughter Rebeka hates to see her parents' trusting nature abused.

0:25:150:25:19

They were just expecting the job to be done, trusted him,

0:25:190:25:23

and it was totally...

0:25:230:25:24

They'd didn't know what to do. They were totally shocked.

0:25:240:25:27

She was all tears, you know?

0:25:270:25:29

And it was getting to the stage where my son's,

0:25:290:25:32

"My mum's upset again," but it was.

0:25:320:25:35

Being a foster carer, you can't let children

0:25:350:25:38

in your care see that you're upset.

0:25:380:25:40

You've got to draw the line. It's all right.

0:25:400:25:45

-I know. It gets to me. It gets to you.

-All right.

0:25:450:25:48

Every time she talks about it, it gets to her because

0:25:480:25:51

it was money I'd saved for me daughter getting married.

0:25:510:25:54

We'll get there, but at the end of the day, don't worry.

0:25:540:25:57

I know it's easy to say don't worry,

0:25:570:25:59

-but she just gets like this when you talk about it, don't you?

-Sorry.

0:25:590:26:04

The Youngs do so much, giving kids a stable home and some family care,

0:26:040:26:08

that I think the least we can do

0:26:080:26:10

is show them what the good guys are capable of.

0:26:100:26:12

But before we get started, I want independent building surveyor,

0:26:120:26:16

Peter Fall, to give me his verdict on their cowboy's job.

0:26:160:26:20

-Tell us what you have seen.

-OK.

0:26:200:26:22

You start outside. You've got the roof tiling there.

0:26:220:26:26

Roof tiling looks OK except when you look closely at the edges.

0:26:260:26:29

And at the eaves at the bottom of the roof.

0:26:290:26:31

The tiles should be lifted slightly and it isn't,

0:26:310:26:36

otherwise the water can get up behind it.

0:26:360:26:38

-Yes.

-He's missed that.

0:26:380:26:39

So, he's put the tiles on OK, but he's not done the edges,

0:26:390:26:43

-the eaves OK. So that's wrong.

-OK.

0:26:430:26:46

The brickwork, now I understood this builder was a bricklayer,

0:26:460:26:49

-the bricks have been butchered.

-Right.

0:26:490:26:53

The mortar pointing bleeds into the bricks.

0:26:530:26:56

Instead of cutting into the edge of the bricks

0:26:560:26:58

and being a sharp edge joint, it bleeds onto the face of the brickwork.

0:26:580:27:01

-There's areas where it's as if he's applied it with a spoon.

-Right.

0:27:010:27:05

Really poor quality pointing.

0:27:050:27:07

-OK.

-The joints between the bricks are varying widths.

0:27:070:27:11

Now, a bricklayer should be able to hit the same joint width all the way along.

0:27:110:27:16

We've got a very bright yellow-y mortar mix.

0:27:160:27:19

There's no attempt to colour the mortar to match the house, the main house itself.

0:27:190:27:24

It stands out like a bright, shiny load of white lines

0:27:240:27:27

that have been bled all over the bricks.

0:27:270:27:31

The wet room is important to them.

0:27:310:27:33

-One of the things that I am concerned about is this floor down here.

-Yes.

0:27:330:27:38

And we've got a wet room floor which does not appear

0:27:380:27:41

to have a waterproof tray underneath it.

0:27:410:27:44

OK. In general, what would you give the builder out of ten

0:27:440:27:47

for the work that you've actually seen?

0:27:470:27:50

-For the work that he did?

-Yes.

0:27:500:27:52

-Which is the roof, the walls and the floor structure.

-Yes.

0:27:520:27:56

Because that's relatively simple stuff,

0:27:560:27:59

-let's mark it down to about four.

-Four out of ten.

0:27:590:28:01

Now that's a fail in my book.

0:28:010:28:03

It's back to construction college for this builder and must do better.

0:28:030:28:08

I can't wait to get the good guys on this job.

0:28:080:28:10

There's plenty of graft ahead to transform this shell

0:28:100:28:14

into the fully functioning shower room and toilet

0:28:140:28:17

they need to help them raise kids

0:28:170:28:19

who might not have otherwise have a place to call home.

0:28:190:28:23

While they get stuck in, I want to track back with Carole and George

0:28:230:28:27

and find out what they did when they were left high and dry by their builder.

0:28:270:28:32

We rang on the mobile.

0:28:320:28:34

He didn't reply. We rang the house phone.

0:28:340:28:37

Didn't reply. Went down to the house.

0:28:370:28:38

He didn't reply. So we went down to Newcastle Crown Court

0:28:380:28:42

cos we'd never been in this situation and they said there's a litigation department

0:28:420:28:46

where you can both meet up and come to some sort of agreement.

0:28:460:28:50

So we attended. In actual fact, I took a holiday from work.

0:28:500:28:53

-I bet he didn't.

-He didn't go. No.

-No surprise, is that?

0:28:530:28:56

And then he didn't turn up for meetings.

0:28:560:28:58

He had sent a letter in to say

0:28:580:29:00

that he couldn't attend because he was working.

0:29:000:29:04

Because he knew he was going to lose. Simple as.

0:29:040:29:06

So the judge awarded the money that we had said, only we didn't ask for any more, just what we're due.

0:29:060:29:11

So here's my tip to try and reclaim your cash.

0:29:130:29:16

First, approach Consumer Direct,

0:29:160:29:18

who can give free advice on the right course of action.

0:29:180:29:21

They can help you write letters and file papers at court.

0:29:210:29:25

But remember, even if you win,

0:29:250:29:27

there is no guarantee you'll get any of your money back.

0:29:270:29:30

The judge ordered the builder to repay the Youngs £3,520,

0:29:320:29:36

but they only received 370 quid,

0:29:360:29:39

a fraction of their money before payment stopped.

0:29:390:29:43

So what would they like to say to their builder now?

0:29:430:29:46

Why he's stopped the payment.

0:29:460:29:48

You know, we've never had anything since November last year.

0:29:480:29:52

I want to know why.

0:29:520:29:53

OK. Well, here's your opportunity.

0:29:530:29:55

PHONE RINGS

0:29:590:30:01

Can you tell us why you left us in the lurch?

0:30:050:30:08

We've never had payments from you since November last year

0:30:080:30:11

and you're meant to be paying me monthly.

0:30:110:30:13

Thank you. Bye.

0:30:130:30:15

'This cowboy won't pick up the phone and he won't cough up the cash either.'

0:30:150:30:20

You know who you are, and now we know who you are.

0:30:200:30:23

And by revealing the tricks you cowboys use,

0:30:230:30:26

we'll help prevent others from falling into your trap.

0:30:260:30:30

Coming up, I can't wait to see Carole and George's reaction

0:30:300:30:33

when we show them what a great job the good guys can do.

0:30:330:30:37

-I like that.

-What do you think?

0:30:370:30:38

Thank you very much.

0:30:380:30:40

Back in Aberdeenshire, our good guys

0:30:410:30:43

are close to completing the installation

0:30:430:30:46

of the Cameron's longed for outdoor canopies.

0:30:460:30:49

Beverley and Gordon's retirement savings took a big hit

0:30:490:30:53

when their builder bodged the job

0:30:530:30:55

and the canopies collapsed just months later.

0:30:550:30:58

The subsequent repairs left the Camerons exasperated.

0:30:580:31:01

It's a terrible thing to happen.

0:31:010:31:04

I suppose you never think

0:31:040:31:05

it's going to happen to you and you don't realise

0:31:050:31:08

how much it affects you until you actually do experience it.

0:31:080:31:13

And it was a lot of stress and a lot and lot of work.

0:31:130:31:19

Here's a tip.

0:31:190:31:21

If you're landed in a dispute with your builder, try and remain calm.

0:31:210:31:26

Losing sight of your dream and your cash can be very stressful.

0:31:260:31:29

But seek support and advice from friends and family

0:31:290:31:33

who you can trust to help.

0:31:330:31:35

It's a big thing to have it finished. While it's sitting there

0:31:350:31:39

it's a reminder of it not being finished

0:31:390:31:41

and how badly it's done, how badly it's affected both of them.

0:31:410:31:44

But to have it finished now, I think they can draw a line

0:31:440:31:47

under it now and say that's it complete.

0:31:470:31:50

Our good guys have almost finished installing the canopies correctly.

0:31:500:31:53

And I can't wait to show Beverley and Gordon what the professionals can do.

0:31:530:31:58

What are you hoping for with your car canopy, first of all?

0:31:580:32:04

It's back in the right place and the spouting is fitted correctly

0:32:040:32:08

and there shouldn't be any leaks on it.

0:32:080:32:10

-OK.

-And the rear canopy,

0:32:100:32:13

the canopy at the rear, is reinstated again to where it was originally.

0:32:130:32:18

And you'll be able to get your car under it.

0:32:180:32:20

-Yes.

-Which you couldn't before.

0:32:200:32:22

And work without any legs getting in the way.

0:32:220:32:24

Exactly. Cos that just didn't look right, did it?

0:32:240:32:27

-No. No. No.

-OK. Well, this is always my favourite bit.

0:32:270:32:31

I love showing people exactly what the good guys can do, so are you ready?

0:32:310:32:37

-Yes.

-All right. Come on, then.

0:32:370:32:39

Let's go take a look.

0:32:390:32:40

-Here we go.

-Wow.

0:32:470:32:49

I don't believe it.

0:32:490:32:52

I don't believe it, either.

0:32:520:32:54

That's fantastic.

0:32:540:32:56

And look at that. That's perfect fitting up there, isn't it?

0:32:560:32:59

It's a great finish, that is.

0:32:590:33:01

Our good guys have done a great job.

0:33:010:33:04

At the rear, we've positioned the canopy just as Beverley wanted.

0:33:040:33:08

It's been safely secured using all the correct bolts

0:33:080:33:11

and fittings, with close attention to detail.

0:33:110:33:13

Now Beverley can enjoy the fresh air,

0:33:130:33:16

sheltered from the harsh excesses of the British weather.

0:33:160:33:20

Proper brackets, as it was supposed to have been.

0:33:200:33:23

Proper gallows brackets, as well.

0:33:230:33:24

-Right.

-Just an all-round cracking job. I hope you'll agree.

0:33:240:33:27

-Yes. Yes.

-Absolutely great.

0:33:270:33:30

But it just looks really, really beautiful, doesn't it?

0:33:300:33:33

I think so. Yes.

0:33:330:33:34

It is great and they've done the spouting as well

0:33:340:33:37

and the other piece down, round.

0:33:370:33:40

-It blends in really well, doesn't it?

-Yeah.

-Fantastic.

0:33:400:33:43

Now, we've got more to show you round the side of the house.

0:33:430:33:46

Let's go see.

0:33:460:33:47

Wow. Look at that.

0:33:490:33:52

-That's great.

-It's unbelievable.

0:33:520:33:55

-It is, isn't it?

-And this is just perfect.

0:33:550:33:57

Out front, Gordon has the cover he wanted to work on his car during all seasons.

0:33:570:34:03

Once again, it's been correctly installed.

0:34:030:34:06

We've removed the unsightly and now unnecessary support legs,

0:34:060:34:09

so Gordon has full access just as he'd hoped.

0:34:090:34:12

The guttering has been refitted

0:34:120:34:14

and the rainwater will flow away as it should.

0:34:140:34:17

I'm sure Beverley and Gordon will agree, the canopies complete

0:34:170:34:21

-their property just as they hoped they would.

-I can't get over this.

0:34:210:34:25

I just cannot get over this.

0:34:250:34:28

Cos it was so ugly before with that pipe just hanging.

0:34:280:34:32

-And it's up higher, as well.

-Yes. Now that's better, isn't it?

0:34:320:34:36

It's much better and again, the strength is in those brackets.

0:34:360:34:39

That's how it should have been.

0:34:390:34:41

-The posts have disappeared so you haven't got the posts any more.

-No.

0:34:410:34:44

But the whole thing looks brilliant and I tell you what,

0:34:440:34:47

you canopy better than that.

0:34:470:34:49

-Can you?

-LAUGHTER

0:34:490:34:51

It really is looking the business and I just think

0:34:510:34:56

-it fits in with the property fantastic, don't you?

-Yes. Yes.

0:34:560:34:59

Has that made you happier people?

0:34:590:35:00

Well, it has. We feel as though we've got some benefit now

0:35:000:35:04

-from the money that we've spent.

-Yes.

0:35:040:35:06

We've got now what we thought we were getting two-and-a-half-years ago.

0:35:060:35:10

Beverley and Gordon can now finally enjoy their retirement.

0:35:100:35:14

These new canopies won't just shelter them,

0:35:140:35:17

it'll help put all those bad memories in the shade.

0:35:170:35:20

It turns out the Camerons have even more to smile about.

0:35:200:35:23

Remember that cheque for two grand the builder said he'd put in the post?

0:35:230:35:28

Well, blow me down with a feather.

0:35:280:35:29

It arrived. Now that doesn't often happen on Cowboy Trap.

0:35:290:35:33

So now let's return to Newcastle where our good guys are putting

0:35:360:35:40

the finishing touches to the new shower and wet room.

0:35:400:35:43

Foster parents Carole and George Young desperately needed a larger

0:35:430:35:46

kitchen and bathroom extension

0:35:460:35:48

to help make their home run like clockwork in the mornings.

0:35:480:35:51

Our good guys are hard at it transforming

0:35:510:35:54

this concrete shell into the shower,

0:35:540:35:57

wet room and toilet, the Youngs hoped their builder would complete.

0:35:570:36:00

Eric is doing a remarkable job on the tiling.

0:36:000:36:04

You must be Eric, the tiler.

0:36:040:36:06

-You must be Clive.

-I am, mate.

0:36:060:36:08

-Nice to meet you.

-I'm loving the marigolds.

0:36:080:36:11

We won't tell your mates.

0:36:110:36:13

Forgive me for stating the obvious,

0:36:130:36:15

it looks fantastic. What have you been up to?

0:36:150:36:21

Well, preparation's been 90% of it,

0:36:210:36:23

to create the folds for the wet room.

0:36:230:36:26

The tiling is actually a piece of cake cos I do it every day.

0:36:260:36:30

Yes. So you're the professional.

0:36:300:36:32

-This is what we want.

-Best of the best.

0:36:320:36:34

But I've got to say, it's looking ti-licious.

0:36:340:36:36

Oh, thanks very much.

0:36:360:36:38

While the good guys get on with the finishing touches,

0:36:380:36:41

I want to find out how Carole and George felt

0:36:410:36:44

when their dream fell apart.

0:36:440:36:46

What was it actually like, from a emotional point of view,

0:36:460:36:52

during that period?

0:36:520:36:55

I was really low,

0:36:550:36:56

because we had gone through the building part of it, hadn't we?

0:36:560:37:01

Did you feel you had anywhere to turn,

0:37:010:37:03

anyone to turn to, apart from George, of course?

0:37:030:37:06

Well, no, just my family, you know?

0:37:060:37:08

They couldn't do anything about it, you know?

0:37:080:37:12

It is an awful thing.

0:37:120:37:14

-It's all right.

-It is an awful thing. Yeah. Seriously.

0:37:140:37:17

It's over with, am I right?

0:37:170:37:20

It is a dreadful... It's important, it's really important,

0:37:200:37:24

Carole, at this stage, to know that, for people to understand

0:37:240:37:29

that this is the sort of disruption and the hurt

0:37:290:37:34

that these guys cause and with your help,

0:37:340:37:38

OK, and with you telling us your story, you are helping others.

0:37:380:37:42

We went through the right channels since then.

0:37:420:37:46

That was it. End of it. We learnt.

0:37:460:37:48

Might be too late now, but we learnt.

0:37:480:37:50

The Youngs have had a terrible time and even after winning at court,

0:37:500:37:55

they still don't have all their money.

0:37:550:37:57

I want to know from their local trading standards officer

0:37:570:38:01

what they should do next.

0:38:010:38:02

What is Carole's and George's next move

0:38:020:38:05

to sort of push that on? Is there anything they can do?

0:38:050:38:10

They need to stay within the law and I understand the frustrations.

0:38:100:38:13

The legal process is very time-consuming

0:38:130:38:16

and expensive, I would imagine.

0:38:160:38:18

They just need to follow that through.

0:38:180:38:20

They need to go back to the magistrates.

0:38:200:38:23

If they've got a solicitor... I know we're talking about expense,

0:38:230:38:26

but again, they need to go through that process to ensure this

0:38:260:38:30

chap goes through his obligations and does pay them

0:38:300:38:33

for what's been taken off them, basically.

0:38:330:38:35

Carolee and George made a mistake

0:38:350:38:37

when they hired their builder without references.

0:38:370:38:40

But the law has been on their side.

0:38:400:38:42

Now they need to put this saga behind them.

0:38:420:38:45

I can't wait to show them what the good guys have done.

0:38:450:38:48

Just remind us what it was like behind those doors.

0:38:480:38:53

Well, the wet room which was originally going to be a wet room,

0:38:530:38:58

it was just stone floor, was horrible.

0:38:580:39:00

So drab. And it was very cold.

0:39:000:39:03

-Dismal.

-Yeah.

0:39:030:39:05

The toilet was a storage room for the wash basin and stuff, you know?

0:39:050:39:10

-Yeah.

-So what are you hoping for?

0:39:100:39:12

To have a lovely shower. So we can just use it instead of just putting rubbish in.

0:39:120:39:18

So, you'd like it to have been all tiled out, shower, fully usable.

0:39:180:39:21

Yeah.

0:39:210:39:23

It's something we've been looking forward to for a very long time.

0:39:230:39:26

OK. And what about in that room then, Carole?

0:39:260:39:29

What are you hoping for in there?

0:39:290:39:31

Well, all tiled.

0:39:310:39:32

I'm hoping, but beggars can't be choosers.

0:39:320:39:35

You say you're hoping for a tiling job.

0:39:350:39:38

Tiling job, wash basin.

0:39:380:39:40

And that's it, really.

0:39:400:39:43

Now then, are we ready?

0:39:430:39:45

Open that door wide, George.

0:39:450:39:46

Let's go take a look, son.

0:39:460:39:48

Oh!

0:39:510:39:53

It's a different...

0:39:530:39:54

God, you wouldn't think it was part of the house, would you?

0:39:540:39:58

Oh, it's lovely.

0:39:580:40:00

I can't believe it, can you?

0:40:000:40:03

-Are you pleased?

-Look at the drain.

0:40:030:40:06

That was just concrete.

0:40:060:40:08

Beautiful shower.

0:40:080:40:11

And the lights really reflect off the tiles, don't they?

0:40:110:40:14

Oh, it's beautiful.

0:40:140:40:15

-Pleased?

-Oh, it's lovely. Good grief, you could party in here.

0:40:150:40:20

The good guys have done a wonderful job,

0:40:200:40:23

bringing a showroom finish to the wet room shower and toilet.

0:40:230:40:27

The concrete shell has been transformed

0:40:270:40:29

with these classic tiles, mosaic border and floor.

0:40:290:40:33

The stainless steel shower gleams under the bright, white light

0:40:330:40:37

from the smart, contemporary downlighters.

0:40:370:40:40

Even the drainage stands out as a smart feature

0:40:400:40:43

in this top quality installation.

0:40:430:40:45

And we have an extra surprise for the Youngs.

0:40:450:40:48

Beneath these smart mosaic tiles,

0:40:480:40:50

we've installed underfloor heating as an extra treat.

0:40:500:40:55

There's a little secret hidden in here.

0:40:550:40:57

underfloor heating.

0:40:570:41:00

-Oh, oh, that's just...

-It's a thumbs up for that?

0:41:000:41:03

-Oh, yeah, definitely.

-Grand. Grand.

0:41:030:41:05

-Thank you.

-OK. It's time now to go take a look at the water closet.

0:41:050:41:08

What do you reckon?

0:41:080:41:10

Oh, wow.

0:41:100:41:11

That's lovely, Clive. Beautiful.

0:41:170:41:19

-Is it lovely?

-It's gorgeous this.

0:41:190:41:23

I couldn't have wished for this. This is beautiful.

0:41:230:41:26

Next door, the good guys have worked the same magic,

0:41:260:41:29

in the separate toilet.

0:41:290:41:31

The matching tiles run from floor to ceiling

0:41:310:41:34

and the bright white sanitary ware and heated towel rail

0:41:340:41:37

perfectly compliment the classic styling.

0:41:370:41:39

The lighting completes the overall effect. Lovely job.

0:41:390:41:44

Well, listen. I think it's time for a bit of a group hug.

0:41:440:41:47

-You can do manly group hugs, can't you?

-I like that.

0:41:470:41:50

-A big squeeze.

-What do you think?

-Thank you.

0:41:500:41:53

We'll enjoy that. Thanks very much.

0:41:530:41:54

All that's left for me to say now is enjoy and good luck for the future.

0:41:540:41:59

-Thank you very much, Clive.

-No problem. You take it easy.

0:41:590:42:02

You enjoy that room. I'll see you later.

0:42:020:42:05

Bye, Clive. Thank you.

0:42:050:42:09

-Oh, it's unbelievable.

-I think the taps are on.

0:42:090:42:12

Yes. There's water coming out.

0:42:120:42:14

You know, Carole and George have got hearts of gold

0:42:140:42:16

and they look after so many youngsters and it was time

0:42:160:42:20

that they had a bit of good fortune come their way.

0:42:200:42:22

I think we've managed to do that.

0:42:220:42:24

And they're very happy. Remember, always keep an eye

0:42:240:42:27

on all the building work that's going on in your property

0:42:270:42:30

and that way you won't go falling into the Cowboy Trap.

0:42:300:42:33

If you've had a problem with builders and you would like to tell

0:42:330:42:37

your story on Cowboy Trap, then please call us.

0:42:370:42:40

Standard geographic charges apply. Calls from mobiles may be higher.

0:42:450:42:49

Or you can send us an email to:

0:42:490:42:54

Help us round up the cowboys.

0:42:540:42:56

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:100:43:14

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:140:43:18

Cowboy Trap visits Newcastle to meet a couple who desperately needed a shower room and toilet for their foster children, a job which builders left unfinished; and we're in Aberdeen to help out a retired couple whose high hopes for garden canopies became a building catastrophe.