'Will tradesmen ever fix my ripped up garden?' asks Leyland nurse
A Leyland nurse says she's been left devastated after tradesmen damaged a memorial to her late son - and left her £1,500 out of pocket for unfinished gardening work.
Mum-of-four Lorna Hardman has spoken out about how she was left almost £1,500 out of pocket after traders 'ripped her garden up', left 'sharp stones sticking out of the ground' and 'ruined' a memorial to her late son.
Lorna claims the workmen first visited on Tuesday, March 2, gave her a quote for artificial grass and new fence panels before returning the following day, March 3, where four men began digging up her grass.
But after transferring them £1490 for materials, Lorna became concerned that they wouldn't be returning to finish the job, having still had no further correspondence from them.
The Blackburn Hospital A&E Senior Sister nurse from Leyland also said that the landscaping company, who she claims failed to respond to her after she sent them money for materials, destroyed her garden memorial for her son Benjamin, who had sadly passed away from cancer eight years ago.
In a video seen by the Post, she had originally been quoted a cost of £850 to have her back garden grass replaced with artificial grass, and an additional £840 after she was then convinced that her fence panels needed replacing.
But once the group of tradesmen began the work and asked her to send over the cash for the materials to finish the job, Lorna claims they have never returned.
The NHS nurse said: "Since I posted that this had happened to me, I have had quite a few messages from people saying this has happened to them too.
"They had first come round to my house and given me a quote after measuring up the garden and then told me they were able to start work that week because they were already doing other jobs in the area.
"They began digging up my grass in the garden and then put the hardcore base down which had really sharp bits of stones sticking out.
"They then asked me to transfer them the money for the materials, which I did, some of which I had to borrow off my mum and dad and then we didn't see them or hear from them again after that."
Lorna and her colleagues at Blackburn Hospital had been working long hours on the A&E ward throughout the pandemic, with the garden developments her way of treating herself.
But it was then over the following days that Lorna saw several other reviews from disgruntled customers who had similar experiences with the tradesmen.
The traders, who work under the name 'Fine Home Solutions' claim to offer garden landscaping, but have only received four online reviews through online directory Bark.com, all of which are one star.
One review reads: "They did a quarter of the work required and then asked us for money to enable them to go and get the materials needed for the job and would return about two hours later and that was the last we saw anything of them. They had taken us for a lot of money so beware people out there they are scammers."
Another similar review read: "They never answer the phone when you try and chase them. I have got a funny feeling I’ve been scammed as I cannot get through to them. When you do, it’s so fishy and their excuses do not add up, be careful."
Lorna says she had been offered the cheapest quote for the artificial grass by Fine Home Solutions through Bark.com, an online directory that matches customers up with a service.
Their website states it 'will help you find the professional for the job', but after she claims she transferred them almost £1,500 for materials to repair her fencing and artificial grass, she was left out of pocket with nowhere to turn.
In texts obtained by the Post, distraught Lorna can be seen sending them numerous texts, asking for the traders to clarify what was happening and questioning their failure to return with the materials.
And in one message sent from one of the tradesmen, at 5:38 pm on March 3, he asks: "Have you put the money in yet because I haven't received anything?" followed by "Yeah, that's fine I will see you tomorrow morning."
But Lorna claims they never showed up on Thursday, March 4, and that was the last she heard from them, despite repeated efforts to make contact through texts and Whatsapp messages.
After reporting the incident to the Lancashire Police, it was passed on to Action Fraud, who confirmed to the Post that it was being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
In correspondence between Bark.com and Lorna, they inform her that their job is not to vet the companies using the site, but to simply put customers "in touch with a professional, much the same way the Yellow Pages, Google, or an advert in the paper would".
It said: "We provide public profiles on every professional and an open review system to allow all prospective customers to carry out their own due diligence before hiring any professionals.
"We do however take reports made against professionals seriously, and we have flagged this tradesman with management for review."
Friends and colleagues from the A&E Department have now raised enough money to fund the developments in Lorna's garden and replace her son's heartfelt memorial.
Between 115 doners, more than £1,800 has been raised through a Go Fund Me page.
Lorna added: "It was when I started reading other reviews saying that the same thing had happened to them that I just knew I had been scammed. I had told these men that I worked for the NHS and how difficult it had been working in the pandemic, and they still did this to me and my family.
"I was left completely out of pocket, and my own children couldn't even play out in the garden in lockdown because of how unsafe it was. It has just made life so difficult and caused me a lot of stress and upset that people can do this.
"They have taken everything, ripped up my garden and completely destroyed the memorial garden for my son which has been really upsetting. They have acted with complete disregard for my property and I have not even slept because of the stress.
"All the paramedics and nurses all rallied round for me and are going to fix my garden, with local tradespeople to help with the work. The response from them has been amazing I am so overwhelmed."
When the Post contacted Bark.com, a spokesperson said: "Bark is an open platform where professionals of all experience levels can advertise their business - think of it as an online version of the yellow pages.
"Due to this, we do not vet professionals and their companies. We strongly recommend customers doing their own research and due diligence before hiring them.
"We make public all the reviews that they have had and do not remove honest negative reviews, and we do also provide details of their social media or personal website if they have provided that to us.
"If we receive a complaint from a customer we do take this very seriously and this will be escalated to either send them a warning or ban them."
And the Post contacted Fine Home Solutions for a comment, but they have not responded.
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