Home owners join forces after Wigan plumber’s ‘lies and excuses’
Several home owners say they have lost thousands of pounds after hiring a Wigan plumber to work on their bathrooms.
Unhappy customers claim Adam Cottom, trading as ACPS Plumbing Services, took money from them and either did not carry out the work or did a poor job.
They are now joining forces to share their disappointing experiences and raise awareness of what happened.
Mr Cottom, whose company was registered to an address on Bolton Road in Aspull, has since been declared bankrupt and is no longer trading. He did not want to comment when contacted by the Observer.
Thea Cornforth contacted Mr Cottom, who was an acquaintance of her husband, in June and arranged for him to fit a bathroom.
He asked for £5,000 to order the bathroom suite, which they paid, but claim he then made excuses about why he could not start the work.
She said: “He did a bit of work and it got to about September-time and it was dragging on.
“I wondered where my bathroom suite was and no-one was doing any work.”
Mrs Cornforth said Mr Cottom sent several other people to do the work, but she was not happy with it and had to remove it.
She tried to get Mr Cottom to return but says he “fobbed her off” so she demanded her money back.
“He said he would give us the money but it was then excuse after excuse.
“He said he needed to return the parts to the suppliers to get a refund.
“I gave him two weeks and asked him what had gone on,” she said.
Mrs Cornforth’s husband then phoned the suppliers to ask for proof that he had bought the goods, but they had none.
She says Mr Cottom told her he would return her money when someone else paid him a deposit for their work, but it did not materialise.
By December she decided to go to the small claims court and posted about what had happened on Facebook, leading to other customers contacting her about their experiences.
Mrs Cornforth, who is from Wigan and now lives in Rainford, had to get another firm to fit her bathroom and says she has lost around £8,000.
She sad: “It’s put our renovations back a bit. We have just bought our dream home. It’s an old detached cottage that’s 200 years old.
“It has had a financial impact because we have had to put jobs on hold because we have not been able to pay for them.”
Mart Palmer, who lives in Ashton, came across a Facebook page for ACPS and was impressed by “an abundance of very reassuring comments”.
The pair met in July and Mr Palmer says Mr Cottom asked for a 10 per cent deposit of £1,500, which he handed over, and agreed to begin work on November 1.
But, Mr Palmer said: “November 1 came and he gave excuses about why he couldn’t start the work, like his van being taken off the road and someone vandalising his van.
“The next week came around and he said he couldn’t start for personal reasons.”
Mr Palmer claims the delays continued and as he did not want to start the work close to Christmas, Mr Cottom offered to give him a refund.
But when he accepted the offer, he says Mr Cottom said he had spent the money on materials so could not return it.
Mr Palmer asked for the materials to be taken to his home, along with the receipts, ready for work to be done in 2022.
However, it did not happen and when Mr Palmer went to the tiling firm they did not know anything about his products.
Mr Palmer said: “I realised there were a lot of lies being told. Unfortunately I have been ripped off.
“I started legal proceedings against him around December last year, starting just with letters about a final notice of a breach of contract.
“He hadn’t even started doing any work with us. Then we got a letter through from the insolvency firm saying he is claiming bankruptcy.”
Paul Bentley, who lives in Highfield, hired Mr Cottom as his son knew him.
After meeting him, he said he “seemed like a really nice, genuine lad”.
In August he paid a 40 per cent deposit of £1,800 for work on his bathroom, which would begin on November 1 - the same day work was scheduled to start at Mr Palmer’s house.
Mr Bentley said: “November 1 came and he sent a text on the day asking if he could come next week because things had got behind.
“I was okay with that because I was in the building trade myself and know things like that happen.
“He started on November 8 and it started okay. They put some good days in.”
But Mr Bentley was surprised on the third day to be asked to pay an electrician, as he understood that was included in the deposit. He handed over £1,000.
Work had not finished as planned by the end of the week and he claims Mr Cottom asked for the rest of the money, promising to return the following week to finish the job.
“I told him I didn’t want any excuses, but the next day he didn’t turn up,” he said.
Other people did arrive to do the work, but Mr Bentley claims mistakes were made and the bathroom was not finished four weeks after the work began.
Eventually, he got fed up and told Mr Cottom not to return, instead completing the work himself.
Mr Bentley, who paid £4,500 in total, said: “I kept ringing him up saying this isn’t right and he kept sending people back, but it wasn’t right. I ended up doing the work myself.
“Now I have found out there are people who have had a worse experience than
Wigan Council’s trading standards department advised anyone with concerns about a tradesman to report them to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
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