Did you know that Gold has been a highly sought after metal since before the beginning of recorded history?
I remember as a young child that my mother bought me my first ring made of Gold, which I proudly wore on my finger and it had the sword of Excalibur engraved into it. Excalibur is a 1981 dramatic fantasy film, that retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
So it had some magical influence on me I guess at the time.
I loved it!
As a teenager I then got to wear my Gold medallion necklace, with my Gold bracelet wrist band that accompanied my Gold ring. With my Afro hair style, my mustache, and my full length brown leather coat, I ogdispensary looked like a cross between Michael Jackson and John Shaft (an Afro American character of James Bond in the early 70’s). I was better looking though.
It brings back some, “I had my moments” memories.
When Me & Bruiser were working on a job many years ago, we came across a couple of builders who we nick named, “Dick Dastardly and Muttley. ” (They were the villains of the series “Wacky Races” who drove a purple rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly).
They were members of the Glitter Band Builders club, as we named them. They wore plenty of Gold jewelry, which looked cheap and nasty. Our term for them was a couple of Jack the Lads. You know the type, street wise, has an eye for the ladies, has plenty of charm. But these two weren’t the type you’d want your daughter to land up with.
So what qualifications do you need to become a member of their club, other than being a low life?
Let’s take a look at one of them under the first section of the Fools Gold Formula.
Being an expert to:
I bet you’ve heard the saying, “All that Glitters Isn’t Gold!”
If not, you have now.
Let me describe the two characters I’m talking about. They dress and look the part to the unwary with their fully equipped vehicle, with the trade membership logo on the side of it (always give the trade body a call to check them out) with so many tools in the vehicle they could open up their own tool shop.
There’s an old saying,
“It’s not the size of the tools you carry, it’s the way you use them!” or something similar I believe.
And we could see they wouldn’t have had a clue how to use them. Trust me, when you’ve been in the building game for a while, you can see a Cowboy builder a mile off.
They walked around with the air of false confidence that rings the alarm bells to the experienced eye. Just the way they held their tool bags, and the way they walked and talked, made them stand out like a sore thumb.
To the uninitiated they may have looked like glitter paved with Gold, but what they will be offering is Fools Gold!
So what happened with Dick Dastardly and his mate Muttley, you may be wondering?
Well listen to this, because there were people who were seeing the glitter of Gold many years ago during the California Gold Rush of 1848-1855, but it did not turn out with the same results for one particular unfortunate couple.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s nine times out of ten the case. ”
How many times have you heard about the elderly in particular, getting ripped off by some unscrupulous people? It never ceases to amaze me how often it happens. I can’t for the life of me put my finger on it at times, but just maybe, we can find some answers here.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a child we were given the impression that crooks came with a mask over their eyes, and wore striped vests. Well, I still believe that they wear a mask, but the striped vest has gone.
Dick Dastardly and Muttley used the mask of deceit and charm, to beguile the old couple out of their hard earned savings. Getting the old couple to part with £2k up front for materials was an easy task for them, with the added promise of a very cheap quote which sounded too good to be missed.
The offer Glittered like Gold!
By the way, in regards to giving money up front for materials, if you agree that this would be reasonable in the contract, only pay when the materials arrive at the destination where the work is going to take place. And have the receipt of the material in your name and sign for them.
Because if your contractor decides to disappear without finishing the job, and hasn’t paid for the materials, the supplier will hand the bill for payment to the address where the materials were sent, and payment will be requested.
You don’t want to have to pay for materials twice, this can be a very painful experience!
This is what the old couple did wrong, so BEWARE yourself:
They never had a written contract in place
They never asked for references
They never checked with the trade organization
They never got a number of quotes
They parted with money too early
When you look at the list I’ve just outlined, it may look obvious to have everything in place, doesn’t it? The sad thing is, that it’s not only the elderly who get caught out, it’s people just like you also!
Let’s just go through the points in the list in a little more depth, so that it doesn’t happen to you. If it hasn’t already?
Having a written contract in place is a must, and not just a verbal one. So many people have the idea that as long as it’s been agreed verbally all is well. If that is the case how do you prove what has been said, when all goes wrong? This may sound obvious to you, but so many people still don’t have anything written down as to what is going to be done, the cost and the time of completion.
Having references of previous work completed, is required so that you check them out. When you check them out, ask for a number of previous references so you are not going to be conned by another ploy. They may have someone who is in on any scam, to be a reference contact. You must go and check all of the references, or get someone who is competent to do it for you. So many people say that they meant to do the checks but never got around to it, because they believed that no one would give references if they weren’t honest. Wrong! Crooks know and understand how people think, and work on the law of averages that most people don’t bother to check out all references given.
If a contractor is a member of a Trade body it will give protection for them and the customer, as there should be an insurance backed support, incorporated within the membership. In the event of any disputes between the customer and the contractor, there is an independent party involved who are able to act as the mediator. The problem is that the people who land up getting ripped off, haven’t checked with the trade organization, that is normally shown as a logo on the side of the vehicle. They assume that because the logo is there, all is well. What can happen is that the trade body doesn’t do any checks to see if the builder still has the logo on the side of their vehicles if they either get expelled from the organization or leaves. The Cowboy builders will lovepawz still keep the logo on their vehicle,which gives them false credibility, and Bob’s your uncle as they say. People are then wide open for the scams. Always check by contacting the trade body, to see if the builder is a member or not. Avoid possible pain!
Be mindful of the difference between an estimate you receive from anyone supplying a service (or what normally happens, a guesstimate as I call it) and a quote. An estimate is the estimated cost of something to be achieved, and a quote should be in most cases, the actual cost of something to be achieved. If you get the two mixed up and accept an estimate, you may be leaving yourself open for some considerable increase to the final bill. So again beware.
As human beings in some cultures, we seem to feel an obligation to part with money before we know what we are receiving. We get a sense of guilt it seems, in the thought of someone parting with their money on our behalf, so we feel more comfortable in giving our own money instead. I know I’ve been naive enough to do this through trusting people, and I know there will be those who are reading this, who have taken my money. (Make sure you come up with the goods you promised me, because I won’t forget if you are one of them. ) Like I said it’s so important to make sure everything is in writing, if you do part with money in your contract.
It turned out “Dick Dastardly and Muttley” lived up to the villains of the piece, by flying away in their bogus vehicle, to no doubt go and cheat some other uneducated possible victims. You’ve now been educated, and better still, know what to do with the education you’ve been given.
So please pass on what you’ve learned, to help other possible victims to be able to protect themselves from the Glitter band of builders or other people who are providing a corrupt scheme or event. The old couple parted with further money, to the mounted up to a sum of £20k, for an extension that didn’t get completed.
It’s so easy to get taken in by those who have practiced the art of deception, because they justify there actions by saying that it’s the victims fault in getting ripped, off because they should have known better. Or they say they too have lost money, due to either them getting ripped off, or because of hard times happening to them. This of course, has the knock on effect in you losing your money also.
There’s a song you might want to look up titled, “Do you want to be in my gang” by the lead singer of another Glitter Band. Check him out, because all that Glitters isn’t the Gold it’s perceived to be.
“All that Glitters isn’t Gold!” If you have never heard this saying before you, need to read this article when dealing with people who are providing a service for you.It will remind you that what we some times believe isn’t necessarily true.