MORE customers have come forward to claim they have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket by a closed double glazing and conservatory firm.
Yesterday, the Echo revealed Tujon based in High Road, Benfleet, had ceased trading despite taking money from customers and then not carrying out the work.
Above: John Freedman
Below: The mess left in his garden
Jeffrey and Monica Freedman, from Crosby Road, Westcliff, paid the firm £12,000 in total towards a £21,000 conservatory, but were left with nothing more than a pile of wood after workers for the firm ripped up decking just two days before the company vanished.
Now mum of two Nicky Collins, 37, from Neil Armstrong Way, Eastwood, has come forward to reveal she has had to cancel her wedding to fiance John Bassett to save money after the £14,000 conservatory she ordered from Tujon did not arrive.
It's off: Nicky Collins, John Bassett with kids Bryce and Tegan
She said: “They are absolute cowboys and have ruined us. I have been in tears for twoweeks.
“The bricks are up, but there is no roof or windows and the doors are just hanging off.
“The garden looks like a building site.
“They even turned up mob handed to demand more money when it was me with my threeyear- old son Bryce.”
She has now had to bring in another firm to finish the job at a cost of a further £6,000.
Another angry customer is Leonie Sutton, 33, of Anthony Close, Canvey. She paid £5,000 towards a £9,200 conservatory only to have her garden ripped up and nothing else done.
Left in the lurch: Leonie Sutton with daughter Amelia
The mother of two girls, Maddie, seven, and Amelia, four, said: “I have lost £5,000 and all they did was rip up our decking and leave our garden in a great big mess.
“They hired a skip and they have left it on the drive. They hired it in the name of another company and billed it to my address, so I would have been left paying more if we had not contacted the skip hire company.”
She said she believed Tujon had a good reputation, but still reluctantly agreed to pay two instalments on January 28 and February 8 before any work started.
However, in a letter dated Saturday, February 22 she was told the firm ceased trading at 5pm on February 21.
This was just an hour after Mr Freedman parted with nearly £8,000 towards his costs on the promise workers would return the following Monday.
Desterted: Toujon's offices
All three victims have contacted Essex Police, but claim the force refuse to record it as a crime and insist it is a civil matter.
Miss Collins and Mrs Sutton also reported the firm to Essex Trading Standards who told them to write a letter to the untraceable firm demanding the work was finished under the Sale of Goods Act.
An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “There is no record of this company being reported on our system.”
A Trading Standards spokeswoman would not confirm if it was investigating the company.
The landlord of Tujon’s former offices said the firm told him it ceased trading in December and one of its former directors is squatting in a flat above the showroom.
Brian Larman, 81, from Thorpe Esplanade, Thorpe Bay, was taking legal advice on how to get Toujon out of his building when the firm closed down.
He said: “They shouldn’t have been in there anymore after December. That is when the licence expired.
“They told me they stopped trading in December and needed time to get their stuff out. I was being generous allowing them to stay and had no idea they were still taking money from clients.
“They were twomonths behind with the rent, plus this month.”
Father and son Colin, 54, and Scott Dear, 20, were directors of Tujon.
Scott Dear resigned in October and Colin Dear quit in January, according to Companies House, where the firm is still registered.
However, they were still involved in the business after these dates according to clients.
The only director listed now is Chris Smith, 31, of William Street, Reading, who neither the Echo or clients have been able to contact.
Mr Larman added: “Scott Dear is still living in the flat upstairs, while no rent is being paid. I am now trying to get him out.”
The Echo tried to contact Scott Dear, but there was no answer.