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Gazumping by removals! How to avoid your firm moving a higher bidder

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I’ve heard about people moving home who are having their removal company ditch them at the last minute. 

This is because the firms are being offered more money elsewhere despite already being booked. 

What can I do to prevent this, and ensure that the removal firm I’ve booked turns up on my moving day as agreed?

Gazumping by removals? Some removal firms may discard your booking for a more profitable one

Gazumping by removals? Some removal firms may discard your booking for a more profitable one

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies:  There are some unreliable removal companies failing to move people on their moving day as agreed.

It can create all sorts of issues, not least that their furniture and belongings remain in a property that they no longer own – once the sale is completed on the moving day.

The problem is that the removals industry remains largely unregulated, so anyone can set themselves up as a man and van removals firm. Always opt for a reputable firm that is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR).

Anthony Ward Thomas, of Ward Thomas Removals and The Master Removers Group, says: Gazumping on removals happens whenever the housing market is really busy.

The problem comes when people search for removals firms on the internet and opt for one of the generic names that head the list of results. They sound like removals firms but are actually internet brokerage businesses that farm out moves to the highest bidder.

You fill out your details and removals firms bid to move you. You think you have secured a firm until a more profitable job comes along and they bid on that one. If they are successful, they discard your move and you are left in the lurch, often on moving day.

There is no governance of these sites – anyone can set themselves up as a man and van removals firm – so the best thing to do is avoid them completely. 

They are not accountable. If you are ‘lucky’ enough to have your removals firm turn up, you may find that the van is usually used for fruit or fish deliveries but was standing idle and the guy who owns it thought he’d turn his hand to removals.

Always opt for a reputable firm which should be a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). Ask friends for recommendations and make sure they are a five-star Trustpilot operator. People can be gullible when it comes to the internet and common sense evaporates. Removals is one of those last industries that cannot be carried out by computers – you need men and lorries or vans so opt for those who do this all the time.

HOW TO PICK A REMOVALS FIRM

When choosing a mover, Ian Studd of the British Association of Removers, recommends consumers take the following steps: 

  • Carry out proper due diligence on who they may be inviting in to their home. BAR Membership can be verified by clicking on the TSI logo which will be found on members’ own websites
  • ·Ask for references and then take them up
  • ·Consumers should research a potential service provider’s website to look for feedback reports, which in the case of a BAR Member company can be found on the portal reference line
  • ·If they have the opportunity, then visit the service provider’s premises to experience first-hand how they operate and if possible speak to staff and take opinion from other clients which is always useful.
  • Always get a minimum of two quotations and for preference three. Quotes must be considered on a like-for-like basis (ie is the service provision described exactly the same) and not simply on the price at the bottom of the page
  • Check the terms and conditions for potential additional charges and when they may be incurred (a bona fide professional remover will always explain this to you as part of their quotation process)
  • Allow sufficient time to allow for all of the above to happen and a formal contract offer to be made and accepted

 

Ian Studd, of the British Association of Removers, said: The key point here is that the consumer must absolutely allow enough time to complete proper due diligence on their preferred service provider and to confirm the move date(s) at least seven to 10 days in advance.

They should also consider this service as a value proposition and not simply a commodity purchase and enter into a formal, legally binding, contract with their chosen provider.

The removals industry remains largely unregulated and so it is important for the consumer to be educated in how to choose a mover. Inevitably and understandably price will be an issue, but it should never be the only issue, and the choice of service provider should be considered against service levels, consumer protections and price.

What matters the most, and costs the least, is having a safe and successful outcome. What is absolutely true is that one size most definitely does not fit all, rather each move is an individual experience that is determined by a unique set of circumstances and so any solution or move plan should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the task in hand.

Looking to reduce their expenses, many consumers will enlist family or friends to move their belongings, or look for cheap removals services on social media. Unfortunately most such service providers will fall into that ‘unregulated’ category and will offer no consumer protections in the event that something goes wrong.

There is nothing to stop a person buying a transit van today and calling themselves a removals expert tomorrow, operating entirely in the black-market economy. One associated risk in following this course of action is that scrimping on removals can leave the consumer at risk of being ‘gazumped’ at short notice by the so called mover if they find a more profitable piece of work for the date in question. Sadly, there are also many examples of items being damaged or stolen in transactions of this type.

With regards to the professional removal service companies, there is no question that they are under enormous pressure at the moment to cater for the volume of demand that we are experiencing. That said, if all parties in the move chain – including conveyancers, solicitors and consumers – apply a degree of common sense to the process, then that demand can and will be fulfilled.

The key issue here is to apply reasonable time parameters to exchange and completion of contract, which would then allow sufficient advanced notification of confirmed move dates, which in turn allows the chosen mover the opportunity to schedule workloads more efficiently. 

It is also worth mentioning that moves do not always have to take place on a Friday, the burden could definitely be eased considerably by scheduling completions to take place on any one of the other days in the week. All of which said, some consumers will inevitably pursue the DiY route as their preferred option.

However, when contracted with a professional removals company, you can be assured that the mover will have scheduled the move programme to account for all necessary time parameters, such as needing to vacate the property by a given deadline to comply with contractual requirements, and also that fully trained and qualified operatives will be allocated to your move programme.

Selecting a professional company to complete the move will ensure that a legally binding contract will have been formed through the offering and acceptance of a quotation, and so the mover is obliged to ensure that the contract is fulfilled.

The combination of these factors will deliver a more efficient and much safer outcome than would be the case if an unregulated company, or a ‘DIY’ approach is taken.

The removals market has been pretty flat out since June last year with the more normal seasonal ‘peaks and troughs’ of activity having been almost completely levelled out. Our members have reported being under constant pressure to deal with the demand, both administrational and operational, with all staff working long hours to fulfil their contractual obligations to the consumer.

If there is one thing that would help to alleviate some of that pressure and risk of default, it would be for consumers to allow enough time to carefully select their chosen provider and to confirm the move date far. By doing this far enough in advance, the mover has sufficient notice to allocate the required resources to the task in hand.

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Godwin submits plans for Dorset mixed-use development (GB)

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Godwin Developments has submitted a planning application for Woodbury Park, a brand-new commercial development located at a prominent 4.85-acre site in Bere Regis, Dorset. Proposals include four purpose-built drive thru and drive to roadside retail units, with renowned restaurant brands PopeyesStarbucks and McDonald’s already lined up to take space, which has been designed to their specifications.

 

The scheme will also feature a 12,000ft² block of up to eight units, with associated parking and turning facilities. The units will be two storeys high, with the flexibility to combine into larger floorplates, if required by potential tenants. The block will be built speculatively and will target BREEAM Very Good, including features such as air source heat pumps, low energy lighting and highly efficient building fabric, to name a few.

 

Situated off the Townsend Roundabout at the northern entry point of Bere Regis, the site benefits from a high passing traffic flow of over 27,000 daily vehicles. It occupies a key location at the intersection of the A31 and A35 alongside the main arterial route connecting Poole and Bournemouth to Dorchester.

 

The Woodbury Park scheme will further Godwin’s commitment to local regeneration and job creation by enabling up to 250 new employment opportunities. Roles are anticipated to be primarily in retail, distribution and logistics, as well as services, manufacturing, technology and the creative industries. Local people will also benefit from the inclusion of several EV charging points, the first in the area.

 

Claudine Tracey, Development Manager at Godwin Developments, said: “The site’s high traffic flow, lack of similar offering close by, and proximity to existing Shell garage and trade park make Woodbury Park a sought-after location for a range of occupiers – including coffee and quick service restaurant brands. We are also delighted to be delivering the UK’s first Popeyes drive thru as the company expands its footprint in this country. In addition, our development will deliver a variety of local employment opportunities for Bere Regis through the provision of flexible industrial and logistics space suitable for new and existing businesses. The scheme at Bere Regis showcases Godwin’s unique capability to successfully combine industrial and roadside retail to maximise a site’s potential through complementary uses.”

 

Stuart Pratt, Director at Godwin Developments, commented: “The recent boom in takeaway food consumption and hyper-local convenience shopping is bringing ever more exciting brands to the roadside retail sector. At the same time, demand for industrial and logistics space is continuing to grow with units of varied sizes – including trade parks – experiencing a substantial lack of supply. For these reasons interest from investors into both sectors has been very strong in the past year; and we expect the trend to continue throughout 2022 on the back of strong consumer fundamentals.”

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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

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Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².

 

The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.

 

The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.

 

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”

 

Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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