I originally recommended Neil last time he did some work for me. He turned up at the time agreed, did the work and was a nice friendly guy who explained exactly what he had done, I was pleased that I had found a good plumber, and popped him a recommendation up on these forums.
That was last year, flash forward to January 2016
I was planning on renovating my bathroom as there had been a leak which had damaged some of the floor and I also wanted to replace the bath with the shower, so I gave Neil a call to give me a quote and a date when he would be able to do the work. He agreed to come round on the 30th Jan which he did and we agreed on the following day that the work would be done on Fri 12th Jan and he would arrive at 8am. The work agreed was to reroute a gas pipe, install a new waste pipe, provide all the pipework for the shower and install the shower tray.
Based on this, organised a couple of days off work so I could spend the Thursday ripping out the old bath giving Neil access to area he needed to work, and also arranged with my partner's Dad to travel up to us to help out as we planned to get most of the work done installing the new shower by Sunday.
Thursday arrived, we ripped down the bathroom and ensured everything was prepared for Neil the next morning. 8am came and went, and Neil didn't show, , I gave him a call about 10ish allowing for traffic problems and got no response, I tried to get in a touch with him a few more times during the day. I eventually gave up and organised another plumber to come give me a quote on Saturday. At about 2, Neil finally got in touch to explain there had been a plumbing emergency that he had to sort out, and he was actually around the corner, I explained that I at least needed the gas pipe removed today, and the hot water capped off so I could continue working. He came round later that day and did that work for me, and said he had some work on the Saturday, but he would be there between 11ish and 3 to finish the work. I cancelled the other plumber as I thought I was sorted, however I was wrong.
Saturday came, I waited and waited, but no word from Neil. Finally at 5pm he got in touch to say he was still on a job and as it was dark and raining he wouldn't be coming today. I asked him for a date when he would come and finish the work, no reply. Finally, he responded on Sunday when I said I was just going to get another plumber, he promised he would attend on Monday, and would 100% be there, he had one small job in the am and would come straight afterwards. So, like an idiot I agreed, made arrangements to work from home....
Monday came, no sign, I tried to call him, no answer, texted him saying I needed confirmation that he was coming, and I would appreciate the courtesy of letting me know what was going on. No response. I gave up, told him he would no longer be required and I contacted another plumber who hopefully is going to turn up.
I don't know why he didn't turn up, I assume that he took on some other jobs at short notice which he is often praised for in the forums. There are plenty of posts of Neil arriving at short notice to fix an urgent problem. I understand that sometimes this will happen, and as long as it's communicated to me I'm ok with that. All I needed from Neil was a call X has come up, I'll be there by Y, I'm really sorry but it's an emergency. However, I didn't even receive the courtesy of a call/text which would have taking him 2mins.
In light of this I'm sad to say, I shall never be using Neil's services again, which shame, because when he turned up he was a great plumber :(
Neil although performs good work when he turns up can be unreliable and non communicative. I would think carefully before booking him for planned work, of course as the many good reports here say, your mileage may vary.
Some other replies of him not turning up:
Neil texted me today to apologise for the no shows and told me there would be no charge for the gas work he did. I mentioned to him that I appreciated it that, and all he had needed to do was contact me. Hopefully he will improve this going forward as like I said, he's a nice bloke and a good plumber.
I've been thinking about this a lot myself. Obviously we are not all experts so when we recommend someone I think this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
I found a tradesman through this site who I would not recommend to others. The experience wasn't bad enough to warrant a bad review. He quoted higher than another guy because he said the job would take longer - I thought great, he's thorough. It was more the case that it was a three day job because he didn't work full days, even when he said he would be 9-5! One day he didn't turn up so the job took a day longer than he said. And the finished job wasn't quite as good as he led me to expect.
Then I saw someone else recommend the same guy here and I felt very conflicted...
Difficult - I have used a couple of recommendations on here one was brilliant, the other a bit meh. I guess that, despite it feeling a bit unfair, positive recommendations only work if people feel able to counter them (as in this case) by posting about negative experiences as well.
I have to echo Rich's sentiments about Neil's services as a plumber. I hired him a couple of months ago to do some pipe work in my kitchen after reading all the glowing reviews on this site. I was so disappointed I thought about posting here but decided not to as I figured it was hopefully a one off, and to be honest I was worried about getting yelled at by the same people who have objected in this thread. But how else can people make informed decisions about who to hire if people only post the glowing reviews (which is what encouraged me to hire him) and do not hear the bad? My complaints are similar to Rich, he was booked to come, failed to turn up, didn't bother to contact me to warn me and failed to respond when I contacted him. This happened twice in one week. When he eventually did the work he was missing a part - the cap for the overflow pipe - (despite having seen the job in advance so he knew what was required) and said he would come back tomorrow to bring it and fit it. He still has not done so, despite repeated calls and texts to ask when he would, and intermittent promises from him that he'd do it 'tomorrow'. Yes he seems a nice guy, but I'll take gruff-but-actually-turns-up over friendly any day.
WOW !!! Rich you have really opened a can of worms here. I used to regularly look on HOL to look for tradespeople but this has really made me wary. Almost every week there are regular postings on here about what a great plumber Neil is -- if you were looking for a plumber he would be the first person you go to. But suddenly there are a flood of responses that are not so great. It seems if Rich had not posted his first we would never have been any wiser!!! Jerry's comment about being "too scared about being seen as unreasonable" seems to be shared by a lot of people. It makes no sense having a forum where people only feel they can put up good comments. It's a real shame .....
I'm afraid I had a very similar experience with Neil, following an initial positive one that I posted on the forum.
There seemed to be a fault with something he'd fitted and I ended up missing a day off work, after having initially been told he would be round in the morning. I'd tried contacting him to ask him for a rough idea of time, but around lunchtime I resorted to calling him from a different number. I got a response and he said he would be round soon. He never showed up that day and I think it was the following day or maybe even the one after when I finally managed to speak to him again.
My assumption was that he was trying to pick up new business, and so was neglecting existing customers - which is a common juggling act for many sole traders, and possibly if he's only recently started trading, it's one he's yet to get right.
But like the OP, I decided not to recommend him further.
Me and my partner have just (mid-February 2016) had the benefit of Neil's services on our new home. From start to finish, his work was first-rate. He is friendly, constructive and knows exactly what he is doing. His depth of experience was palpable. We both found him to be an excellent communicator. Clearly, Neil is a very busy man -- and of course that can lead to crossed wires once in a while and diary confusion. But he is very busy, because he is so damn good. I would recommend him wholeheartedly and urge anyone reading this not to be put off by a rare slip-up.
I can't recommend Neil highly enough! I feel partly responsible for some of the negative comments he has received on HOL recently and feel terrible about that. I called him late one evening when another plumber left me in the lurch with no water or heating, a hole in my ceiling and a very complex leak in pipes leading to my boiler. I was on my own with a small baby and rather desperate. Neil texted back immediately and was here at 7.30am the next morning. Although he couldn't fix the problem straight away and had other commitments that day that he couldn't change (he didn't want to let down other clients) he was back the following morning and fixed the problem, keeping me in the loop along the way. He was very reassuring and friendly and helpful and his price was incredibly reasonable. I don't know what we would have done without him. I'm sorry his business may have suffered as a result of my emergency and him having to juggle a things around. He is clearly very much in demand and I'm hugely grateful to him for fitting us in on this occasion! It was a genuine emergency. For anyone in need of a plumber, you can reach Neil on 07731997936