Customers report summerhouse builder to fraud investigators
- Credit: Supplied by Peter Carmichael
Customers who handed over thousands of pounds to a Wisbech builder for summerhouses that haven’t been built have reported the company to fraud investigators.
Ten customers from across the country – some as far away as Scotland - have shared their experience of ENB Garden Buildings after ordering the wooden structures for their gardens.
They all thought they would be making use of, or at least close to using, their summerhouses by now.
But many speak about how they no longer hear from the company after handing over their hard-earned money towards deposits and how workers fail to show up.
Those lucky enough to have had theirs built complain about the poor quality of the materials used and workmanship.
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Victoria Toombs, from Blackpool, has brought together a group of almost 20 people who feel they have been let down by the company, which is located on the Mount Pleasant Trading Estate.
In total, they have handed over at least £30,000 and have been waiting months for the builds to take place.
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While some are keen to share their stories, others preferred not to because ENB Garden Buildings had recently been in touch with customers to rebook builds for August.
Many also said they feel intimidated by Edvins Breide, the man behind the company.
Victoria, who posted scathing reviews about the company on Wisbech social media pages, said: “I am angry with how we've all been treated and we all want our money back...
“This has had a huge impact on people’s lives and has caused so many problems for families.”
She had plans for her summerhouse to be used as a playroom for her young family, and handed over a 60 per cent deposit of £3,120 in March. It was due to be built in June.
Victoria said: “When I was browsing for sheds, I realised how far away ENB Gardens Buildings was from us here in the north west.
“My gut feeling was that Edvins was too far – the other side of the country.
"But he convinced me to order with them, and it wouldn’t be a problem because the team travelled all over for work.
“He gave me the impression they were a bigger company than they were, and he was a very smooth talker.
“I was given the option to pay either by bank transfer or PayPal – and I paid by bank transfer.
"But they didn’t show up to do the work and I have never heard so many different excuses in my life.
“I was due a refund six weeks ago and I don’t' hear back from them when I try and call.
"I, like many in the group, have now reported this to Action Fraud.
“I’ve also instructed debt collectors which has cost me almost £500.
"I have to do everything I can to get my money back...”
Victoria said some have received refunds.
Those customers said they chose to pay with either PayPal, or was given the option of using their credit card.
John Dick, from Fife, in Scotland, said: “I ordered our summerhouse at the very start of the year and was told there would be a six to eight week.
“After various delays and excuses, including that the staff had Covid, I decided to get our £2,195 refunded in May and told ENB Garden Buildings.
“I applied for the refund through PayPal, and then received a notification to say ENB had put a stop to it.
“In the end, I disputed it with PayPal and it ultimately went in my favour. I managed to get our money back.
"It was touch and go, but these builders are taking money off hard working people with no intention of fulfilling orders.”
A spokesman for Action Fraud confirmed reports about ENB Garden Buildings are currently being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
Cambridgeshire Police also urged those affected to inform trading standards and Action Fraud.
ENB Garden Buildings has its own website but appears to trade as ENB Construction Ltd which is used on the header of invoices and receipts.
Eduards Breide, Edvins’ son, is listed as an active director on Companies House.
Edvins and his other son, Roberts Breide, are named as shareholders although Roberts appears not to be involved with the operation.
Many customers liaise directly with Edvins, who appears to handle the day-to-day running of the business.
But someone with inside company knowledge said they felt Eduards, who is not a trained carpenter, has been "set up to fail” by his father.
“Eduards is trying his best to fix things and has stopped taking any more orders,” they said.
“He has been put in a very difficult position.”
ENB Construction Ltd annual accounts were due to be filed in June 2021, and are now marked as overdue on Companies House.
While the firm’s website is still live, the Facebook page where many came across the company has recently been taken down.
Edvins had previously said the summerhouse delays were due to workers catching Covid and the shortage of wood.
It is alleged he has also told customers he has cancer.
When asked if he felt ENB was scamming people, one customer responded: “My immediate reaction is to say yes, I do feel this is a scam.
“It may have started with good intent, but they’re now cash hungry and haven’t been able to keep up with orders. And their continued excuses are disgraceful.”
Another person with connections to the company felt the same.
They said: "[ENB] can’t keep avoiding people for much longer. They either refund customers’ money or they get on with building their sheds.”
We have approached ENB Garden Buildings for comment, however, when we first raised these issues with Mr Breine he promised to refund a customer's deposit - but this did not happen.
He also put the delays down to the current shortages of wood and being unwell with Covid, which meant he was unable to work.