A West Auckland handyman who allegedly left at least five homeowners out of pocket has been blacklisted from an online marketplace for tradespeople.
Keith George of KG Property Maintenance was hired to do handyman work for Vincent Chand in Glen Eden earlier this year, but Chand said he instead left him and his son Mario Vincent out of pocket by more than $2000.
Chand said he originally found George on the website Builderscrack, which helps people list jobs and get quotes from tradies.
Jeremy Grey, a spokesperson for Builderscrack, said he was “disappointed” to learn of Chand’s experience with George and said George had been blacklisted from the site.
“Keith George was actually removed from our site on April 20, after another user raised flags about his account.
“He was relatively new to the platform and had signed up as a handyman.”
The user who raised flags about George was Marie Israel from Pukekohe, who said she’d chosen George to do landscaping work as he offered a cheaper quote than others.
“We wanted him to do some work in the back and front yard, as well as on our automatic gate. He quoted me around $8000 which I thought was a great deal.”
Israel said she paid George $4440 through PayPal as a deposit in February, but it wasn’t until two weeks later the work began.
“He came for one day and then didn’t come back, so I called him. He came a couple more times, but always after 1pm and only for a couple of hours.
“I had to ask him over and over when he was coming back. He’d always have excuses like his dog was sick, or his partner had a baby, his car was stolen, he lost his phone and so on.”
Israel said George finished the backyard, but did a “poor job of it”, then asked for more money so he could buy all the materials in one day.
She said she paid him another $2400 and he never came back to finish the work, so she sent a complaint to Builderscrack.
“I filed a dispute with PayPal and we ended up having to do part of the front yard ourselves. I managed to get $2400 back from PayPal, but in the end he got $4400 from me for a job that would’ve been worth about $1500.”
George said he had told Israel he wouldn’t be able to finish the job due to overbooking himself and becoming overwhelmed.
“She got her $2400 back, I don’t owe her anything. The $4400 was a deposit and the hours I worked and materials used equalled up to $4400.”
In regard to all the people who had come forward and said George had ripped them off, George said he knew what he did was wrong.
“I just got too deeply involved, I took on too much work. If I could turn back the clock I would, and I wouldn’t have started my own business.
“I do feel bad about how it went down – I genuinely wanted to do the job and run a business.”
Grey said when a tradie signed up to Builderscrack they had to verify their account with a photo ID and address, but George hadn’t supplied any additional information.
“We’re always looking out for red flags and we’re discussing how we could stop things like this happening the future.
Grey said some advice he could give to people looking to hire a tradie was if it seemed too good to be true, it probably was.
“Get a few quotes from different people and be very aware of anyone offering a much lower quote.
“Trust your instincts, ask questions and remember you don’t need to pay large deposits upfront.”