So we’ve just bought a new house and needed a new boiler for it and as you do when you want to save a bit of money you look around to try and find the best deal.
We happened upon PlumbTraders, the site looked good, “Official Supplier of Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover” it said, the boiler we found was a good few hundred cheaper than most other places online so on 03/08/14 we decided to order it, got the email order confirmation no problems.
On 05/08/14 we received an email with an invoice and an expected delivery date of 12/08/14 with details of the local branch who would be delivering it.
The 12/08/14 as the day went on and nothing came I decided to wait until 3pm before calling the local company to see where it was, when I called them the said they didn;t have anything to deliver today and would make a quick call and get back to me. They called back and said I had to contact PlumbTraders as there was an issue with processing the order, but the items were there ready to dispatch. I tried calling PlumbTraders on their 0845 number and all I got was an automated message “All our sales operators are busy, please leave a message”. I tried their 01384 number and it was either ringing forever and cutting off or constantly engaged. I left voice mails and sent emails but had no response back.
I’d figured at this point the reason we hadn’t got our boiler was because PlumbTraders were just purchasing from suppliers and not actually handling the products themselves, drop shipping basically, and they hadn’t actually paid the supplier for our boiler which is why it wasn’t delivered, so this instantly made me think they were in financial trouble as there isn’t really any other reason why they wouldn’t have paid for it, they had our money after all.
At 6pm on 12/08/14 we received an email from PlumbTraders saying “We are sending you this email to remind you that your order ref: 115035 is due to be delivered on 13 Aug 2014.” Strange we thought, maybe they were going to pay for it on the 13th so it could be delivered, we hoped! It was obviously an automated email as it was sent dead on 6pm but we thought we’d see what happens come the next day.
I phoned the local place late morning of 13/08/14 and the story was still the same, out of interest I got them to quote for exactly the same product and accessories and they came out £50 more expensive.
On the 13th the homepage of PlumbTraders started to get errors, on the 14th the site displayed a message saying they had ceased trading and to contact Begbies Traynor, they were putting the company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.
So we’ve basically wasted over a grand, swallowed up in their bank account, it’s terrible that the money can just go that quick, they should never have been taking orders when they knew they couldn’t fulfill them.
After a bit of researching around into the history of the company and the owners I’m sure it’s not the first time something like this has happened, the directors are:
Ian Lawrence Cole
David Steven Cole
There was also a notice of striking off in January 2013 so I presume they’ve been in trouble for a while.
Steven Hancock was a founding director, who now is a director of PlumbArena which seems a similar kind of setup.
The company is actually called Traders Group Ltd There was an original company called Plumbtraders Ltd which has been disolved.
The domain www.plumbtraders.co.uk is now registered to Pioneer Bathrooms Ltd who seem to be Pioneer Bathrooms and Heat and Plumb. So it appears the domain has been sold already, why you would want to own the domain of a company who have ripped people off is beyond me.
I managed to get the contact number the local plumbing company had for Plumb Traders, it’s 01384 361084 the number of a web design company Echelon Digital. So avoid these as Martin Smith is the director there too.
We have filed a claim with our bank via chargeback, we are still waiting to see the outcome of that, failing that we’ll join the list of creditors and probably wait a couple of years to get a fraction of pence in the pound for what we’ve lost.
I like to think I’m extremely savvy when buying from places online, sometimes you just get caught.