Pensioner Vs Tradie

Reporter: David Eccleston

George Irvine knew something was wrong."He insisted on cash and everytime GST was mentioned he'd break out in a rash."George suspected a roof cleaner was taking him to the cleaners. This morning on his driveway, George Irvine decided to fight back.2 days ago, needing to get his house ready for sale, George got a knock at the door.

"All nice and friendly. Telling me how dirty my roof was needed cleaning. And then proceeded to tell me it would be $1400 to clean it."George told him he couldn't afford that price, the man, we only know as Michael, reduced the price to $1100. George agreed."It did seem a little too much but I'm not experienced with trades work - well I thought if that's the going price - fair enough but I've since found out I was ripped off."

George has suffered from cerebral palsy all his life, wheelchair bound he believes the man only known as Michael has taken advantage of him."For a start he knew I couldn't get up and check what needed to be done or such. I think he did take advantage of me."Often its real estate agents in the Fightback firing line. Local agent and friend, Wendy Underwood may be an exception. She found George cleaning up after the so called roof cleaner had left.

"When I left here and thought how do you stop someone like this. George had said they were coming back the next day so I rang you" said Wendy.This morning we arrived to catch Michael out as he came to collect the remaining $300 George owed him. But Michael found a different George to the one he met yesterday. This morning, George was not in the mood to play the fool again.Michael wasn't in the mood to answer our questions.

Neighbour Paul was also concerned his old mate was getting ripped off. He had a much larger roof pressure cleaned just recently."We had ours done for $495 - and I cant see it would have cost anymore then say $500 to $600. Its just wrong."Brian Hockam has been pressure cleaning roofs for 20 years. We invited him to look at George's roof to see how much he should have been charged. "To do this job if I was to do it, it would be around the $600 mark, I would be here minimum 5 hours maybe 6, something like that $1100 way over the top."

He had no doubt:

"For the amount of money he's been charged, he's just been ripped off severely."Brian says predators are becoming more and more frequent."Theres heaps of cowboys out there. They just go door to door - quick turnover of the money" says Brian."Yes it does make me sad. There always will be people out there like that and people just have to be on their guard. Unfortunately I wasn't quite on my guard."And if you have seen or heard of someone who needs a hand, could use someone in their corner, don't hesitate to contact us. Join the Fightback and even the ledger.