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Mike Free of Glastonbury, Builder, Architectural Designer and Ex Mayor

Updated on October 12, 2017

Free As A Bird

Ex mayor of Glastonbury, claims to be an architect but gets around the legalities by stating he is an Architectural Designer, builder and project manager. It is not a crime to be an architectural designer but it is when people claim to be an architect. He insinuates that he is qualified but he isn't.

There has been 4 sets of people that the Police are aware of, who has been ripped off by Mike Free, but there are more coming out of the woodwork. His set pattern of behaviour over the past 20 years has been to use his position of power (ex Mayor, political candidate and Governor at Musgrove Park Hospital) to disarm potential victims, allowing trust to build, so as he can start building works and architectural drawings. When victims have paid, he will use bullying tactics to get more money out of them, then manipulates a scenario so as he gets sacked from the job, taking the money with him. If victims don't fall for this, he will go on a 'go slow' (like occasionally turn up for appearances sake) until the victim eventually sack him. Of course, the right way to do this is to log attendance and email people like this a deadline to complete the work. If this isn't adhered to, then people have the right to sack him and take him to court for unfinished works.

Now, the problem is proving intent and he premeditates this by coming up with what the court would say is 'legitimate reasons' in emails and text messages. He uses this as evidence and has a typical Politician's gift of the gab, after all, why would such a person in a position of power, rip people off?

What can be done to stop this dangerous man from this repetitive behaviour?

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself Against Rogue Tradesmen?

Rogue builders, particularly during this time of austerity, are becoming more and more common. Most sole traders are not a member of a regulated body and you won't know the claims they are making are true, leaving you as a potential customer vulnerable and open to being ripped off.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Do a quick internet search. There are many review companies like Cyclex or Check A Trade that may give you an insight into other people's experiences. However, be mindful that many potential reviewers may not give a bad review because they feel ashamed that they have been diddled by a particular builder.

In the case of Mike Free, this was the case at the time of organizing a contract. when doing an internet search. On speaking to local people, taking money and not completing jobs has been going on for many years. In fact, this knowledge was well known in the local community who was in the know.

The three Mike Free reviews below have been recently added to help protect others.

Recommendations

  • Take the time to speak to the builder's previous customers. Were they happy? How long did they take to complete the job? How did they handle contracts, deposits and payments. More importantly, were they happy with the work?

Perform A County Court Judgment Check

  • Firstly, ask the potential builder if they have any CCJ's or County Court Judgments and would they be alright if you checked. If they are not, this may be an indication that they have something to hide and don't touch them. In any case, you should perform this - it doesn't cost too much but in the grand scheme of things, you can lose so much more from a rogue trader by not performing this.

Costing between £4 - £10, checking a trader for repetitive behaviour in the form of CCJ's stakes the odds in your favour and helps to provide peace of mind.

In the case of Mike Free, if I had known his CCJ history, it would have alarmed me to his misgivings, as can be seen by the list below. Please also be aware that the list history only goes back 6 years, then is wiped. It appears that this rogue builder had a track history of previous and 3 more ccj's have since been added above and beyond the list below.

Mike Free's CCJ History Since 2012

If only this type of information was transparent, we could all avoid people like him:

England and Wales Orders & Judgments

MR MIKE FREE COUNTY COURT MONEY CLAIMS CENTRE

C32YM052 04/08/16 £839 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MR MIKE FREE READING 1RG02253 24/08/11 £977 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL FREE COUNTY COURT

BUSINESS CENTRE C3QZ1E53 30/08/16 £1,794 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL FREE COUNTY COURT

BUSINESS CENTRE A7QZ6725 06/07/15 £1,103 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL FREE NORTHAMPTON CCBC 3XH64320 06/02/14 £798 Judgment Satisfied

(15/12/14)

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MIKE FREE NORTHAMPTON

CCMCC 3YM12851 23/07/13 £1,686 Judgment Satisfied

(12/03/14)

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL J R FREE NORTHAMPTON CCBC 2QD13134 20/09/12 £2,643 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, UK, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL FREE YEOVIL 2QB04800 21/05/12 £416 Judgment Satisfied

(09/10/12)

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG


MR MICHAEL JOHN ROBERT FREE NORTHAMPTON CCBC 2QT10429 22/02/12 £1,487 Unsatisfied Judgment

2 UNDERWOOD ROAD, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA6 9BG

Check Your Quote and Contract

The problem with a contract is that we are not all experts in this field. Generally, this is a promise of what is expected, a list of tasks and payment plan.

  • You do have a cooling off period and this should be stated in the contract.
  • You have implied rights. This means a service must be carried out 'with reasonable care and skill', within a reasonable time and for a reasonable charge.
  • A quote is a fixed price, whereas an estimate is just a guideline - ensure that your contract states 'Quote'.
  • Ensure you read the terms of service within the contract.
  • If a trader refuses to provide a contract, it may suggest they are dishonest. However you are within your rights to set up a contract yourself, expressing what needs doing and when. I have provided a link to a template contract that might help you.
  • If in doubt, refer to Trading Standards for further advice.

Criminal Action

Mike Free was arrested earlier in 2017 and an investigation took place. If you are in a position where you have been a victim of fraud by a rogue builder, you may need to:

  • Report it to the Citizen's Advice Bureau
  • Report it to Action Fraud.

CID and Crown Prosecution Services agreed that Mr Free's behaviour was guilty but had trouble in proving his crime 'beyond all reasonable doubt'. It was not in the public interest to prosecute (he used to be a mayor and it was expensive to put him through the court process) and because the contract did not say that the money he had taken from me, although termed a refundable deposit, it didn't stipulate the term 'holding'. The importance, therefore, of making sure your contract is legally water-tight.

He was ordered to pay back £1900 that he stole from another victim or he would be rearrested and charged.

All four victims were advised to go through the civil route to claim back their money. This is a route that I will tackle in another article 'Successful Small Claims Procedure Against A Builder'.


© 2017 shazwellyn

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