Clients of rogue builders now under investigation over Facebook group

Posted On 18 Mar 2019 at 5:41 pm


Customers of a firm of rogue builders who set up a support group on Facebook are themselves being investigated after the firm blamed its demise on a “pressure group”.

DMB Solutions went bust in January 2018, a year after the Facebook group was formed, by which time it was already being investigated by Trading Standards.

By March 2018, Trading Standards had received 85 complaints about the firm, and 47 people had approached the firm’s liquidators to say they were owed money.

Customers complained they had handed over large deposits for building work which had never been completed. Contractors also complained they had not been paid.

Trading Standards has now been investigating for more than a year – but in December, administrators of the Facebook group were told they were also under investigation.

One of the admins, who asked not to be named, said: “I was told the DMB directors feel that they’re the victims. I was incredibly angry.

“There’s been a total lack of communication. It’s now 15 months and we’ve been promised action but nothing’s really happening.”

The email they received from Trading Standards said: “I wanted to advise you that I am arranging to interview two of the directors early in the New Year. Responses from them suggest that they blame the activity of the Victim Support Group for their demise.

“I am required under the law to make enquiries for and against my investigation and it is clear that I need to open a new line of enquiry.

“They have named several individuals who actively canvassed customers etc who I will contact separately. I understand though that you were an administrator of the Facebook page and I would be grateful if I could call you before Christmas to discuss the status of the group.”

In a text sent to employees in January 2018 informing them of the liquidation, DMB directors James Powell, 37, Christopher Bibb , 50, and Michelle Allen-Foord, 46, said: “As you know we have been subject to a pressure group campaign since the beginning of 2017 which has involved our own personal harassment including our families, clients being harassed, threats both physical and verbal, Facebook and Twitter posts as well as a number of anonymous reviews being posted on Google, Trading Standards being pressured to investigate us, local newspaper reporters harassing us, etc.

“This group has also targeted our present customers which has made working with them very challenging. Draining our resources on site and in the office.

“It simply isn’t worth it for us to continue and in the end looking back we hope you can understand the decision we have made.

“We are sorry this is the end of the road for DMB and do value all the hard work you have put in to keeping DMB going especially in these last months when it has been extra specially challenging.”

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Our priority is in conducting a thorough investigation. This is a necessarily time consuming process, ensuring all aspects of the situation are explored.

“We are not in a position to share details at this time because to do so could compromise the outcome of any future court case.

“We’re pursuing a number of lines of enquiry in our investigation, as per our duties under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act.

“We’re unable to comment further at this stage.”Customers of a firm of rogue builders who set up a support group on Facebook are themselves being investigated after the firm blamed its demise on a “pressure group”.

DMB Solutions went bust in January 2018, a year after the Facebook group was formed, by which time it was already being investigated by Trading Standards.

By March 2018, Trading Standards had received 85 complaints about the firm, and 47 people had approached the firm’s liquidators to say they were owed money.

Customers complained they had handed over large deposits for building work which had never been completed. Contractors also complained they had not been paid.

Trading Standards has now been investigating for more than a year – but in December, administrators of the Facebook group were told they were also under investigation.

One of the admins, who asked not to be named, said: “I was told the DMB directors feel that they’re the victims. I was incredibly angry.

“There’s been a total lack of communication. It’s now 15 months and we’ve been promised action but nothing’s really happening.”

The email they received from Trading Standards said: “I wanted to advise you that I am arranging to interview two of the directors early in the New Year. Responses from them suggest that they blame the activity of the Victim Support Group for their demise.

“I am required under the law to make enquiries for and against my investigation and it is clear that I need to open a new line of enquiry.

“They have named several individuals who actively canvassed customers etc who I will contact separately. I understand though that you were an administrator of the Facebook page and I would be grateful if I could call you before Christmas to discuss the status of the group.”

In a text sent to employees in January 2018 informing them of the liquidation, DMB directors James Powell, 37, Christopher Bibb , 50, and Michelle Allen-Foord, 46, said: “As you know we have been subject to a pressure group campaign since the beginning of 2017 which has involved our own personal harassment including our families, clients being harassed, threats both physical and verbal, Facebook and Twitter posts as well as a number of anonymous reviews being posted on Google, Trading Standards being pressured to investigate us, local newspaper reporters harassing us, etc.

“This group has also targeted our present customers which has made working with them very challenging. Draining our resources on site and in the office.

“It simply isn’t worth it for us to continue and in the end looking back we hope you can understand the decision we have made.

“We are sorry this is the end of the road for DMB and do value all the hard work you have put in to keeping DMB going especially in these last months when it has been extra specially challenging.”

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Our priority is in conducting a thorough investigation. This is a necessarily time consuming process, ensuring all aspects of the situation are explored.

“We are not in a position to share details at this time because to do so could compromise the outcome of any future court case.

“We’re pursuing a number of lines of enquiry in our investigation, as per our duties under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act.

“We’re unable to comment further at this stage.”

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