House Clearance Horror Stories & How to Avoid Your Own

Having been in the house clearance industry for many years we’ve obviously come across our fair share of sorry tales, bad workmanship, shoddy dealings and rip off merchants who will take advantage of unsuspecting people. Getting a house cleared is a job that is often undertaken when you are stressed, short of time and vulnerable so it is little wonder that you can fall foul of unscrupulous traders who will be looking to rip you off for a quick buck.

Here we’ll list just some of the horror house clearance scams we’ve come across, explain some of the warning signs to look out for and give you some tips on how to avoid getting caught out.

Top of the list has to be fly tipping.  These days a company must be licensed to carry and dispose of waste responsibly.  Sadly, there are many rogues who are willing to take advantage of unsuspecting people and will take away your rubbish only to illegally dump it just round the corner.  They’ll even have the cheek to take your money as well. But your troubles won’t end there as the fly tipped waste is your rubbish and if there’s an envelope left in your rubbish with your name and address on it, then expect a hefty fine winging your way in the very near future, to add insult to injury.

Take a look at an old Rogue Traders clip on the subject of fly tipping

Steering Clear of Dodgy Traders

Thankfully, there are some quick checks you can make to ensure that the company you use for clearing your house is licensed and reputable.  First, make sure they have a waste carrier license, and it is up to date. It is also a good idea to check their address and contact details are correct. A reputable house clearance company will have a large list of independent reviews from previous customers that are clearly visible.

Warning signs to look out for include a quote that seems too cheap, dumping waste responsibly costs money if you are doing it commercially and this needs to be reflected in the price.  Asking for payment up front is another red flag, a reputable company who is following the law will happily provide proof that your waste has been disposed of properly before asking for payment. Are they easily identifiable and traceable themselves? Someone about to fly tip will be trying to fly under the radar so that any flack comes back to you. They are unlikely to want to leave a paper trail such as quotes and invoices and are more likely to want everything verbally with cash in hand.

Another, all too common, complaint we hear from disgruntled homeowners who have been left wanting when it comes to house clearances is hidden charges. There’s nothing more stressful than thinking that you have control on your budget only to find that the company you choose to clear up your property charges you for extra time because the job took longer or for specialist handling of items such as electrical goods.  Sometimes this can be a deliberate tactic of the company to unnecessarily inflate their price but can also be the fault of the property owner failing to brief the clearance company fully.

Taking Sensible Steps when Clearing Your House

Either way, there are steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  It is very important that you are very clear exactly what needs clearing from your property and where abouts in the property everything is located.  When getting a quote make sure that they understand exactly what it is that is being cleared and any obstacles that will make things difficult and get a quote in writing detailing this so that both parties are clear before the start what the job entails.

Don’t worry if you have overlooked something though, as these things do happen.  Just let your clearance company know as soon as possible so they can factor the extra time in if needs be.

Another tale of woe that we hear all too frequently is taking payment up front.  This can lead to all manner of problems such as the job dragging on for weeks when you paid for a quick fix or leaving you with a half-finished job to clear up yourself. The worst pitfall of handing over your money before the job commences is that they don’t show up at all, leaving you having to find another company to do the clearance for you and out of pocket to boot.

The only way to protect yourself from this type of shoddy trading is to look for a house clearance company who only take payment once the job is completed and you are completely satisfied. There are plenty of us around.

Hopefully the above will have given you some ideas to ensure that you don’t end up in a similar predicament and your house clearance runs smoothly.


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