I have been observing many cases of frauds and cheats in promising various services to people and running away with the money.

Creating a thread where you can find details of such cheats will help someone to save some money.

I'll share two of such incidents, one with me and one with my friend.

Starting with a friends experience

My friend was looking for a carpenter and from somewhere they got a reference of BABULAL CHOUDHARI (with various mobile numbers). This guy quoted the lowest rate for inclusive all deal of a 2bhk. Guy was talking very sweet and behaving like a gentleman before finalizing the deal. He took advance and started the work with lowest possible quality of material. Meanwhile another friend got the reference of this person from the first friend and again this guy quoted lowest rate (which nobody would have quoted as it was not possible at all) for his 3bhk. Got the advance and shifted two of his carpenters to this 3bhk from the 2bhk. Now they had only 2 carpenters (1 expert and 1 helper) working at each site. The guy used to stop work for days for no reason and used ask for more money saying 'parwadta nahi' and as you know getting half work completed from someone else is again a head ache. So both these guys decided to hike the initial quotes to get the work done (finished). Mr. Babulal was smart enough and he got the idea of helplessness of these poor champs who didn't have time for anything else (IT guys). He convinced them to pay in full and he'll put all the material at once and the work will be completed faster. A guy paid him entire deal amount and another paid almost all keeping only 30k as balance to be paid on completion.

Since that day, this guy sent only one man to work at each site and this one man also used to come only on weekends and used to give some excuses on weekdays. These guys used to waste their weekends just in the faith that work will be completed someday. As time passed Babulal started asking for more money and stopped the work at both sites. When these guys threatened him of police complaint, he said 'jo ukhad sakte ho ukhad lo', now i'll not do your work. The guys were so helpless, they went to police station and police asked for written work contract or agreement as a proof which these guys didn't have. Police then asked to produce the payment proofs and here was the catch. Both these guys paid in cash as Babulal insisted to have cash payment saying that he needs to give it for material and if they pay by cheque then they'll have to pay octroi as well as service tax on material. Poor guys finally spent more money to get another carpenter and get the work done. All this process went for 9-10 months.

Advice - always pay as per work status and not in advance, always pay by cheque (of course account payee), always execute a works contract/agreement (costs only 500-700 Rs) and mention total cost, inclusions, exclusions and time period in the agreement.

Another incident happened with me - a guy came from 'Pratham Aqua Filter Service' claiming that builder had an agreement of maintenance with them for builder provided filters and now the agreement is over. So if we wish to continue it at same cost we have to pay. Most of people from society paid 3k for 2 years of maintenance of a UV filter which included service in every 6 months and filter element change every 9 months. It also included that if anything goes wrong, this company will either repair it or replace it in the contract cost. The guy gave receipts with stamps and numbers on it (3 numbers). Came after 3 months and just checked everyone's filters, didn't nothing, went to remaining people who didn't trusted at first time, collected money and handed over the receipts to them. Since that day, it's more than 8 months now, no number on the receipt worked. No guy came for any service and no filter element change. There was no address on the receipt given to track this guy and people ignored this as it was only matter of 3k bucks. I don't have numbers now but I'll update you with the numbers.

BEWARE and verify anything and everything what is possible before paying a single penny to anyone to avail any kinda service.

Update you experiences with names and numbers of frauds so that people can search online and get an idea that these guys are cheats and should not be trusted for anything.
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  • List of security agencies which do a good job can also be listed out.
    With thefts increasing,presence of a decent security agency will do miracles.
  • Originally Posted by vaibav123
    List of security agencies which do a good job can also be listed out.
    With thefts increasing,presence of a decent security agency will do miracles.

    Actually that's a good point but I think considering everyone good (world is good) till they proved that they are bad is better approach.

    List here the agencies which do not work fine, who provides only old aged people for the job, whose guards are not verified (police verification) and that'll help members to avoid dealing with such people/agencies.
  • Good thread topic. I have had good and bad experiences with contractors, independent as well as through interior design companies.

    Couple of things that I have learnt from my mistakes & after discussing with others:

    - Ask for references and confirm them.
    - Advance payment should not be more than 25% of the total work.
    - If advance payment is for material, then find time to accompany that person and purchase material yourself. If that is not possible, have them buy the material if cost is not too high, ask them to reproduce the bill and then make the payment.
    - Define milestones for rest of the payment and make sure you keep 10-15% payment with you even after work is completed. Pay only after few days of use.
    - If possible, get references from your society office. If you are paying maintenance, then your society already has references of contractors & you can employ them. At times, you may even get better rates.
    - As far as security is concerned, I believe that societies are not doing much to improve security. It is important for society security to issue a gate pass & for you to verify. Gate pass is issued against some identity (driver's license, ration card, voter ID card etc). As a last resort, your security can directly talk to you and confirm that you are expecting a contractor & only on your confirmation, they can issue a gate pass. If no gate pass, then reject the contractor and have them get a pass.
    - Similarly, when contractors leave your premises with their tools, they need an exit gate pass which your society security needs to check.
    - If expecting courier, collect the courier at your building gate and don't let them come to your doorstep. Exceptions would be if it is a big item like furniture or TV. In that case, meet the person at the gate and accompany them home.
  • What I have learnt after hiring interior designers,carpenters etc

    -Check out sample of work done by actually visiting flat/houses where their work had been done.
    -Physically go to the market and buy items.If you pay cash you get a discount,Many carpenters get a cut from the shop from where you buy.
    -Clearly spell out task-drawing,measurements,material to be used and time frame.
    -Inform your society that outside workers are going to work and stick to security restrictions and timings so that members are not disturbed.the last thing your neighbor would like is to hear drills going on and hammer noises at 10 in the night.
    -Security in societies
    -CCTVs is a must -exit/entry points to be well covered.
    -Courier boys should be asked to park in visitor parking area and walk up to the flat.
    -Check the courier boys identity pass. Occasionally the guard should accompany the visitor till the house/flat.
    -All servants,regular vendors like milk boy,newspaper,cable tv should be given passes.
    -Vehicle entry should be strict-entry at gate,parking at designated area.
    -Heavy vehicles shifting in and out of luggage,more care
    -Owners giving flats on rent should be asked to give an application with full particulars f tenant,tenant info form,registered L& L agreement and entrannce fee of Rs100 in favor of society form tenant to become member of society.
    -Society clearance is a must for tenants who are vacating.
    -There are many such steps which are essential for safe living in the era of house breaking and thefts.
    -Vehicle stickers must be designed and issued to owners/tenants after verifying RC book.
    -Security is a state of mind and alertness.
    -Members ought to cooperate wholeheartedly in ensuring security.
    -Problem is that every member does not think alike and expects special treatment.his friends vehicles should be given VIP treatment forgetting that he is a friend to one member but for all others he is an outsider.
  • Sharing my experience:

    I hired a carpenter who had worked on my friend's flat, his work was good. We agreed on % basis. 30% on the material. I made several rounds of local timber market also did online research on material. At the end I was confused as there are 100s of different brands of plywood. Apart from main brands Kitply etc. we get the brands which we haven’t heard of…. No one shows interest in giving you branded ply, and you also find it too costly…. In contrast to that other brands comes a bit cheaper. And every shop is dealer of one brand which you cant find anywhere in market. So I have to take carpenter to the market, thinking that I also did analysis so he cant fool me on quality of material. However we ended up on shop of his choice. Material was good but there was a commission factor easy to guess.

    Overall carpenter work was Ok, and I was strict to him. But anyways he tricked me and made more bucks by doing the following (most of carpenter do this):

    - He agreed that he will be there all the time during work but at two times he said he is going to his home town and his assistant will manage the work. He might have grabbed work somewhere else, and might be working in parallel.
    - Initially he said this amount of raw material will be ok, but later he asked for more, I have to buy raw material two more time in good quantity. 1) He and the shop I purchased the material were having commission understanding, 2) I suspect he was sending back the material through backdoor 3) Higher the material higher his percentage. Win-win situation for him on all fronts.
    - At few times I was not able to purchase some stuff (small items like screw, aero tape, nails etc), so I asked him to purchase from nearby shops and I will pay him later. He shows astronomical prices for that. Eg he gave me a bill where C-bracket were of Rs 95 a pair, and when later I inquired in the same shop it was just for Rs 32/-.
    - Towards the end of the work he said all the cleaning / polishing is not his job, which he never mentioned earlier. I do not have the clue who would do it, he ‘helped’ me by connecting to one such person who charged be 15K for that work, again commission factor. Same goes for TV unit elex fitting behind wall unit and other small elex work - another 8K.
    - At the end not a single piece of raw material left, he said – see my estimate, nothing got wasted.
    - Did chindi chori like I asked him to make safe in cabinet, he made a scrolling drawer of the size of safe. Why ? – because by making scrolling ‘Safe’ channel will be used which are worth 200/- a pair on which he gets commission from the shop and 30% on material by me. Or other example was under study table there was space to accommodate only one normal size drawer, but he put two very small drawer over there.

    When you guys do your furniture work do keep above in mind.
  • "" But anyways he tricked me and made more bucks by doing the following (most of carpenter do this):""
    Greed dominates behavior and however much you try and control some extra amount will go the carpenter.
    Basic human nature cannot change.
    Only thing by active monitoring keep expense by and large within budget.

  • Giving work on % basis or with material inclusive all is not at all suggested. Gaining & learning from such experiences, we had a deal with carpenter on per square feet work done labor basis. This gave us freedom in choosing our own material with our likes and satisfaction and from our preferred shops keeping our labor cost constant.

    I'll give you an example, when you go to market for a door or drawer handle, I guarantee you (if you are little artistic or want good aesthetics with comfort) that you'll not pick anything below Rs 70 per handle (4 inch) and below Rs 120 per handle for 8inch size. Now calculate the percentage of what you paid per handle - considering Rs 100 (average) the carpenter gets Rs 30 to fix two screws. Again they ask for SS screws as they are 3 times in cost than normal MS screws. This is true in all material that they'll p[refer only costly things and will keep you showing that they want quality material to get the best output and will convince you to pay more for similar stuff.

    We had a deal with 250 per square feet as labor - largest two dimensions multiplied for square and the third direction is considered as depth which can be anything :) So for a wardrobe of 7ft width and 9 fr height (including loft) we paid him for 9 x 7 = 63 sqft i.e 63 x 250 = 15750 as labor charge wherein we fitted two locks to sliding doors costing each 600 (total 1200), 4 small locks for drawers (total 600), the sliding channel (4000) and used 4 laminates (2200 each = 8800), 3 white laminates (400 each = 1200) and unlimited amount of fevicol marine (usually 1kg per laminate sheet is required and rest for ply (consider 7kg for 7 sheets and 1 kg extra = 8kg (total 1280) and of course ply which is usually 4x7 sheet (again you need to be clever enough to choose the sizes of ply depending on your work) - 6 ply + 6mm 3 ply (total approx 13000) and many more fixtures such as hydraulics for lofts, hinges, screws, lipping patties and so on. Now if you total the material cost you'll find it somewhere around 50k so we paid approx 25-30% in labor. But same was the rate for our kitchen and hall furniture where we used glass poaintings and carvings, as well as aluminium channel patties which were too costly but we needed to pay only as per 250 per square feet. Even for PVC furniture made in baths (PVC sheet is 4 times costlier than an average cost ply), we ended up in paying same :)

    Always inquire about the cost of anything what you purchase at atleast 4 shops and get it from lowest rate shop. Usually shops provide you discount on ply and laminates and recover extra costs in other items. There are no MRPs for any of hardware items and rates vary by 300% shop to shop. Ex. in wakad, a shop sells auto-hinges pair of a company for 90 bucks wherein other sells same pair for 35 bucks.

    Be wise and save money on labor & such looters and put that in better quality material.

    And of course BEWARE of FRAUDS & CHEATs who are there to loot your hard earned money.
  • These things seem very common in Pune. I never faced such unprofessionalism in Mumbai.

    Once I called up AquaGuard for routing servicing of water purifier. They registered the Service request and sent some "Sai Neelam enterprises" guy to me. The guy said some part is broken and he would fix it only if I go for AMC with them. And I was foolish enough (or lazy) to go for it. The part was not fixed even after that. Now whenever I called them when maintenance was due, these Sai Neelam guys never sent anyone or they said "aadmi chhutti par hai" etc. These days, AquaGuard company (Eureka Forbes) does not perform maintenance themselves, they outsource it to these local shops.

    I too have heard of a carpenter (maybe the same one you mention) who duped an NRI couple in PS of over 10 lakhs in a similar manner that you stated above.

    Flat buyers must note that furniture cost is another expense to consider after agreement cost, stamp duty and taxes.

    First buy a flat at inflated prices, then spend lakhs on furniture which never gets done fully or done with low quality. No wonder, because of low quality carpenters, cheats and thieves in the market, people would go and buy cheap chinese furniture. I myself use some chinese furniture. It is low quality but gets the job done. If it starts breaking, I fix it myself. And then they complain about Chinese competition killing their livelihood. :) Sorry to say, but I would suggest chinese furniture for things like center table, tv and laptop tables, small wardrobes, shoe racks, etc instead of giving lakhs to those cheats. Get ready made stuff as far as possible, and go for carpenters for heavier furniture like beds and full length wardrobes.

    Get someone who charges by sq.ft. of furniture made (regardless of quantity or quality or cost of material used), instead of percentage of material cost.

    Keep it plain, no need to go for flashy designs and laminates. My carpenter-made furniture is very plain and some of my "friends" have said so. But their furniture has already started breaking down, while mine at half the cost is still going solid. How many times does someone see your bedroom anyway. And it impresses the visitor only once - when they first visit.

    Try Godrej metal furniture too. It might be very costly and seem like an outdated concept, but my cousin uses it at home and I found it quite decent. Nothing flashy and attractive but it has a subtle elegance and gets the job done.
  • Can you please post the numbers or addresses of such fraud people here so that they get highlighted in google search? Helpful for people to be alert before these culprits cheat them.
  • Originally Posted by investwest
    Can you please post the numbers or addresses of such fraud people here so that they get highlighted in google search? Helpful for people to be alert before these culprits cheat them.

    Mostly in PS/ Wakad area there are cooks (who prefer to work more in flats where batchlor stays - as batchlors are quite flexible, do not create fuss and rarely eat on weekends at home). These cooks or call them crooks, take the work agree for a perticular time then later keep changing time as per there wish / take parellel job in some other flat / ask for flat Keys / ask for advance ........ and use flat in day time for their 'aaram' or as their 'yaaro ka adda'.

    They do not reveil their true identity ... they say I am Raju, Ramesh, Umesh etc. .... one of my friend had given such a cook a big amount as advance ........... when he vanished , he tried searching for him. Upon finding on of his friend he was located in Wakad working as a cook by different name.
  • My colleague had similar experience, the lady used call local goons at day time when the couple used to be at work and she used to cook and feed them. When few residents of society informed him, he went to check and found that a booz party is going on and few cheap goons with few cheap girls sitting in hall and maid cooking omelette in the flat - these guys are pure veg gujjus.
    Finally he asked her to leave the job and she demanded full month charge even if she worked only for 5-6 days in that month.

    In another indecent, the family kept a baby sitter and day by day their child's health got deteriorated and they started suspecting that the child is mentally ill or incompetent. After they sought help of a psychologist in PS they found that the baby sitter eats all good stuff leaving the boy to eat her tiffin and beats him daily if he don't listen or if he tries to tell anything to parents. They fired her and then the mother took off from work for the child. Now he's recovering.

    So.. don't trust anyone easily.
  • ""Can you please post the numbers or addresses of such fraud people here so that they get highlighted in google search? Helpful for people to be alert before these culprits cheat them.""
    Idea is not bad,but such naming people may amount to defamation of people without giving chance to hear their story.There are people who always try to give workers as less as possible.
  • Originally Posted by vaibav123
    ""Can you please post the numbers or addresses of such fraud people here so that they get highlighted in google search? Helpful for people to be alert before these culprits cheat them.""
    Idea is not bad,but such naming people may amount to defamation of people without giving chance to hear their story.There are people who always try to give workers as less as possible.

    We are talking here about cheats and frauds.. what defamation without giving them a chance? Invite them for a discussion here then :) I'll be happy to recover my money from the filter service guy if he comes here on the forum.

    If you have a true spirit of stopping such practices of cheats and frauds, you should name them here and aware others not to get attracted to such guys for anything.
  • For carpenters :-

    Best is to hire those who have worked in someone's house you know. Same goes for painting work.
    Mouth publicity is best source for this. You get first hand info from people where these guys have already worked before. This I think is the best practise.

    For baby-sitters :-

    I know 2 families who have installed CCTV inside their flats & keep a watch on it via their cell phone as the DVR is connected with internet. They can monitor the baby & the baby sitter continuously & as this fact is known to baby sitter, she also doesn't create any mischief as she knows that not only monitoring is done but evidence is also being collected for whatever she does.

    For security :-

    Unfortunately, for 70% of residents, security is not a criteria. They say guard is a guard, why bother on agency. His job is to open & close gate only. :o Sad but this is the state of most societies. Seldom I have seen where security is given high importance & people wake up only after theft occurs.

    Apart from this, there are some con-men who come to your flat & say that they will repair cooker, food processor, microwave etc. for free for 1 yr if you take annual membership of INR 50/-. They give receipts & address of office & cell no. is also mentioned, but all is fake. Many people think that matter is only of 50 bucks, so they give it. Beware of such crooks.
  • ""We are talking here about cheats and frauds.. what defamation without giving them a chance? Invite them for a discussion here then""
    This is a public forum and posting should be done with care,responsibility and with an awareness that what is posted in the net,remains for ever and can haunt you .
    Qouting a persons name and terming him cheat will be oversteping our freedom of expression.
    Many of the category of people being discussed,definitely cheat/overcharge but the way to check such practise is by ascertaining their work from earlier people who have dealt with them
    When I hired a carpenter,I went to the shop to check out.I went to two three of his earlier customers to ascertain quality of work.I even accopanied him to shops for purchase of material and necessarily didnt buy from the shops he took me to check material.
    Everyone does checks in his own way,but it is necessary or we end up paying more and sometimes get lower quality.