Kirkby pensioner left with mouldy house after damp-proofing company goes bust

JanetBaker in her living room
JanetBaker in her living room

A Kirkby pensioner says damp on her walls is worse than ever - six years after having her home damp-proofed.

When Janet Baker, 79, noticed rising damp in her living room in 2013, she contacted Preston Preservation to carry out injection damp-proofing.

Janet paid the company £840 to damp proof her home on Alfred Street, Kirkby, after they did the same treatment in a neighbours house.

However, just a year later, Janet noticed the damp was back, and worse than before.

Although the work came with a 30 year guarantee, she has been left unable to contact the company as they ceased trading two years ago.

"They did all the living room and stair walls, and the adjoining wall with next door. The company was doing another house on the street and I asked them for a quote," said Janet.

"The plaster started coming off after about a year, and it's worse now than it was before.

"The front room is just mouldy now and I have to bleach it down - it gets on my chest.

"It's a mess and I've got to live in it."

After numerous attempts to contact the company, Janet contacted Citizen's Advice for help. They sent a recorded letter to the company, but heard nothing back.

When a second recorded letter was sent, it was refused seven times, leaving Janet out of pocket and with no answers.

Although her son has helped her take the crumbling plaster off the living room walls and coated the walls, Janet says there is not much else she can do, and has lived with the damp for five years.

Janet has suffered from numerous health problems, including headaches and sore throats, which she believes may be because of the damp.

"I don't normally suffer colds, but I have had more headaches and sore throats since the damp got bad again.

"There's not much I can do if the company has gone bust, and I can't afford another £800 to have it redone."

A former employee of the company said: "The records were disposed of after the company went into administration.

"The owner passed away two years ago.

"The guarantee would be void, just like it would with any other company that goes into administration."

What can you do if a company goes bust?

Citizen's Advice says that if a company goes into administration, you should get details of the administrator or receiver - the person who is dealing with settling the trader’s debts.

The names of those administrators will usually be on the website of the company that’s gone bust. You’ll need this information if you need to make a claim.

When you know for certain that a company has gone out of business and you haven’t got what you paid for, you can try to get money back by:

Registering a claim as a creditor - fill out the form with details of what you are owed and send it to the administrator dealing with the trader’s debts

Applying for a ‘Section 75 claim’ from your credit card provider if the item or work cost more than £100 and you paid with a credit card

Asking for ‘chargeback’ from your bank or card provider if you paid with a debit card - many bank staff don’t know about the scheme, so you may need to talk to a manager.

If you’re not satisfied with how they deal with you, you could consider alternative dispute resolution or, as a last resort, going to court.

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also use an online form.

For more information, visit: citizensadvice.org.uk