Dozens complain to Trading Standards over Brighton building firm

A Brighton builders has gone into liquidation, with a number of customers claiming they have been left out of pocket or with building works half finished.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 11:58 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:54 am
DMB Solutions office in Brighton (Photograph: Google Maps)

DMB Solutions announced on its website on New Year’s Day that it was being placed into voluntary liquidation.

Since then, a Facebook group ‘DMB Victims Support Group’ has seen a surge in members, and Trading Standards revealed it was investigating a number of complaints into the company.

Kieran Grogan set up the Facebook group in January 2016.

Kieran Grogan said this picture was taken in his house on November 17, but DMB was supposed to finish work on August 19

He said that in March 2015, he hired DMB Solutions to renovate his Kemptown home to accommodate his disabled brother, who was moving in with him after their mother’s death.

He explained how he had paid DMB £25,000, with a start date on April 25. When no-one turned up on the day he said: “That is when alarm bells started to ring with me.”

After calling the company, he said work started about a week later.

“After that it was a bit hit and miss. I think in a six week period we had two days work done. We had to pay our last instalment by June. The 19th August was when work was supposed to finish.”

He said he paid out £62,000 in total.

“We paid it. They threatened to sue us. We would have been in breach of our contract for withholding the money, they said.

“Work stopped again for two weeks. When it did start we didn’t know what was happening from one day to the next.

“We got to September and we were in a mess. It should have been finished. We had no toilet and no bathroom for 27 weeks.”

Eventually work was finished in January 2016, but Mr Grogan said a bedroom was left with no electrics, he was without central heating for weeks, and the staircase was not the kind he’d asked for to aid his brother.

“I set up the DMB Solutions Victim Support group. People think they are on their own but then they realise others are going through the same experience.”

Kieran said a Freedom of Information request by the group revealed there had been 34 complaints about DMB to Brighton and Hove Trading Standards in the last two years.

He added that since the company went into liquidation, there has been a surge in people joining the Facebook group sharing their experiences.

Jacqui Swift of Hangleton is a member of the group, and said: “We have been having our kitchen extension done since May, it was meant to be finished in September.

“There has been problems that we have been trying to sort out. September there was a huge delay, they ordered the wrong bi-folding doors. We went on holiday in September and when we got back it still wasn’t finished.

“It was the end of November and we were still arguing about the bi-folding doors, which we’d paid £6,000 for.

“It was £10,000 for the utility room. They said they had ordered it, and it went quiet. On January 1 we heard it closed.”

She said she and her family had been left £10,000 down, and with a kitchen that is three-quarters done.

“The only good thing is that everybody is supporting each other on the Facebook group, it has made it bearable. It has been the worst start for the new year I have ever had.”

She added that Greenacre, a skip company, had offered to collect DMB customers’ skips that had been left at their properties as a goodwill gesture.

Neil and Claire Smith contracted DMB for a 14-week project on their Brighton home in May 2017, which they said remains incomplete.

Neil said: “Our new glass roof, which they had fitted, leaked just before Christmas. They owe us money for a radiator, they haven’t completed drainage, electrics, internal masonry and plastering, external rendering, outdoor plumbing and electrics.”

Brighton and Hove Trading Standards said it had received complaints about DMB Solutions, and added: “We can confirm that our Trading Standards officers are investigating DMB Solutions following numerous complaints. We are currently considering our options which include investigating whether fraud has been committed. We would encourage anyone wishing to make a complaint about DMB Solutions to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 so that details can be passed on to us.”

A statement on DMB Solutions website said: “The Company has ceased to trade and the directors of the Company have instructed Begbies Traynor to assist them in complying with the formal requirements for placing the Company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.”

The firm’s latest balance sheet at Companies House, filed on December 11, showed it owed £937,672 to its creditors.

A Begbies Traynor spokesperson said: “Sadly DMB solutions (UK) Limited has ceased to trade. The directors of the Company have instructed Begbies Traynor to assist them in complying with the formal requirements for placing the Company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

“We understand in certain cases upfront payments have been made by customers, once in office the appointed liquidator will have more information to report further.”

The company directors are listed on Companies House website as James Anthony Powell, 37, Michelle Jayne Allen-Foord, 46, and Christopher Bibb, 50.

DMB Solutions has been approached for a comment.