From the year 2002 to 2011 I was a self employed plasterer, after spending from 1996 to 2002 labouring and learning the trade, when I began plastering I was always told that I would be able to live comfortably on a plasterers wage, however at about 2007 the building trade began to slow, the prices on the jobs began to drop and work slowly dried up completely. This forced me to take on private jobs, most the time these jobs are better paying than site work as you cut out the middle man but their is a huge downside to undertaking private jobs.
The downside to private jobs is Customers that either begin to negotiate the price after the job is complete or sometimes even refuse to pay anything at all. As a builder/plasterer their seems very little we can do about it, removing or destroying the work can led to a vandalism charge and court action can take months and cost a fortune.
Not paying builders for a job after agreeing a price is a form of thieving, if we steal bread or a tin of baked beans from Tesco we could be arrested and prosecuted and even end up in prison yet police stay clear of builders being ripped off, the builders are expected to rely on the time consuming, expensive court system, its even more expensive when people are not paying you.
As constantly pointed out by the shoddy BBC some building work is shoddy and withholding a payment is understandable but most experienced builders do leave a fair job yet some people (a minority but enough to make it a problem) seem unwilling to pay an fair wage. As for the BBC, why don’t they spend more time exposing how the government and corporate media (including themselves) are providing a low quality and expensive service instead of or even as well as exposing builders and then (in the case of the BBC) sending people to prison for nonpayment?
Thieving from the BBC can end you up in prison, thieving from Tesco can end you up in prison, thieving from a bank by fraud or robbery can end you up in prison, pirate DVDs and torrents and counterfeit or duty free tobacco and alcohol are also classified as thieving and can be punished with prison yet thieving from builders, sole traders or self employed individuals never gets punished with prison, in my experience its a form of thieving that nobody really takes notice of, other than the people getting ripped off and the end result of payment refusal is usually the person refusing to pay gets away with it and the sole traders pick up the bill.
I am no longer a self employed plasterer, which means I do not get ripped off by members of the public, I am now a small time video maker/blogger I now get ripped off by huge multinational online companies like Amazon and Google.