The Garden Office

Sections in this Article:

Donovan the Con Man!

Despite our best efforts, a gut feeling had developed that something was amiss with the build. The last time we had seen anyone from Garden Room Space was on the 7th December and now well into January 2021, and appreciating the Covid 19 pandemic had caused issues, the simple act of correspondence was lacking. Some deeper digging was required and yielded some interesting results.

First off, companies house. I don’t know how I had missed this previously, but a “Donovan Clive ELLIOTT”, was listed as a director of a number of active and dissolved companies [all of this information is public in Companies House if you dig through the PDFs]:

171 Headstone Lane, Harrow, England, HA2 6LX

20-22, Wenlock Road, London, England, N1 7GU

171 Headstone Lane, Harrow, United Kingdom, HA2 6LX

171 Headstone Lane, Harrow, United Kingdom, HA2 6LX

171 Headstone Lane, Harrow, Middlesex, United Kingdom, HA2 6LX

Okay, 5 companies might be okay but my eyebrow was raised so I continued digging a little deeper. One Call Home Improvements, the limited company behind Garden Room Space hadn’t filed their accounts. Donovan certainly comes across as a little, shall we say, scatter brain at times, so this could be explained away.

One Call Home Improvements Ltd

Then, a proper hit, a page on Facebook dedicated to Con Man Donovan [I like the ring to that]. After that initial sick feeling when the realisation of being had had passed, rational thought returned. First off, connecting with the lovely lady behind this Facebook page confirmed that our current experience was not too dissimilar to that of others.

Throughout the build we had been careful not to allow the payments to work completed ratio get too far ahead of us. We often refused or reduced payments when the amount of work completed didn't justify the payment. If we would have to complete the work ourselves [it had begun to look that way], it was certainly going to leave us out of pocket, but fortunately, not by too much. Reading some of the comments and pictures shared on the Facebook page confirmed others hadn’t been as lucky as us.

One Call Home Improvements

Throughout the build, payments had been made to the company Donovan had set-up behind GardenRoom.Space. We had a written quote and contract linking GardenRoom.Space with One Call Home Improvements Ltd, so were not initially worried about this set-up. The bank sort code and account number for GardenRoom space is 20-69-72 and 16715868 respectively [please don't pay them anything; unless you're a prince from Nigeria]. After a bit more digging, see Sort Code Checker, I find out that this is linked to a bank declaring themselves as Prepay Technologies Ltd; which turns out to be a very popular bank used by many fraudsters!


Despite our best efforts, Donovan had simply walked away from the job taking a large proportion of our money, leaving us with a partial build of poor quality, electrical safety issues and a mess in the garden. Our garden had effectively been rendered unusable for our young children; not ideal in the height of another Covid lockdown, something had to be done!

Over the next few weeks we tried repeatedly to contact Donovan to no avail. In the end I reverted to some stealth tactics and was able to speak to him [mostly using telephone numbers not known to Donovan, or numbers with blocked caller identification]. Despite false reassurances and promises, Donovan continued not to meet any of his commitments to us which forced us to make an ultimatum. Either he finishes the job, providing us with a detailed plan of how he'd achieve this, or he returns some of our money with ourselves taking responsibility to complete the build. Needless to say, this was ignored and forced us to begin legal proceedings. This was also the point where we decided to take on the build ourselves.

By 25 March 2021, we had secured a CCJ against Donovan; again due to his complete ignorance. As expected, despite this legal order, he continued not to pay us. This was now driving us further into legal action with court action now being the next course of action. This is likely to be drawn out over many months, but we won't relent out of principle - at time of writing, this is where we are to date.


We have never had an apology from Donovan or any attempt to make amends; a very powerful indication of his type of character! It is believed he is preparing to set-up again to continue to rip off more unfortunate victims. While this may inhibit any chance of getting any compensation from Donovan [not that we are expecting any now], it will be our continual mission to make it as difficult as possible for him to continue. In that, I thank Donovan and GardenRoom.Space for giving me a new hobby and source of entertainment!

Update 1 - June 2021

By June 2021 Donovan's website: no longer appears to be active [April 2021]. It was noted that the Facebook page for Con Man Donovan is no more. It is suspected that the woman behind it has received some form of compensation or settlement - I've not been able to make contact since. We ourselves have had some limited success after considerable effort on our side, and have received a small proportion of the amount secured on the CCJ, but there's still a long way to go! Clearly the CCJ has caused Donovan some pain as by Aug 2021, Donovan requested multiple times for it to be cancelled with assurances that once done, he would settle in full! Really, does he think we're that stupid! Our last correspondence with Donovan claims the full balance will be in my account by 8 Sep 2021 - we'll see [been here before; October 2021 - still nothing!]!.

Update 2 - August 2021

It has become a new hobby to monitor Donovan and try to disrupt his exploits as best I can. By August 2021, a new Facebook site had appeared [Garden Annex Direct] with an accompanying website [Garden Annex UK]. It fitted Donovan’s profile perfectly and when the mobile telephone number and email matched that of Donovan, I was certain it was him starting up again!

I posted a few comments and pictures of our experience with Donovan on this new Facebook site and by October, I was contacted by the person behind this website requesting me to stop, claiming the new site was nothing to with Donovan and my activity was disrupting their clients. After a Facebook messenger conversation it transpired this was an advertising agency gaining clients for Garden Office builders in the central London area - Donovan was one of their first clients which is why his contact details are listed [not convinced personally]. Evidence was provided to me [in the form of chat screenshots], of Donovan not paying this new agency and effectively locking them out of the Facebook page and the new website [sounds familiar!]. I concluded the conversation with hint that Donovan may be getting a visit from High Court enforcement officers soon and exchanged my Action Fraud reference number with them as they had also begun proceedings.

Update 3 - October 2021

By October 2021, almost a year to date when we had engaged with Donovan, we instructed a debt collection agency to pursue the case for us. It didn't take long for a Writ of Control to be obtained and for a notice of enforcement to be issued. Following Donovan's usual pattern, this was ignored which led to an enforcement agent visiting his property. The following is the response received:

Our enforcement agent conducted a visit and met with the Director of the debtor company at his home address in Harrow door number 171. He stated his daughter is showing symptoms of Covid 19, so the agent did not enter the property. The agent explained who they are and why they were there. He stated the company had no money and that he could not pay. He showed the agent his business bank account which was overdrew.

The agent couldn't enter the property so looked all around the outside of the property and in the back garden, as the side gate was open. There was no assets of value that looked to belong to the debtor company. There were 4 cars parked on the driveway the only one of value was a Mondeo which the agent was shown proof that this was not the debtors car. The debtor stated he can make full payment at enforcement stage one in three weeks by the 29th of November 2021. The agent has agreed to give this time to him and explained if he breaks the arrangement he will be charged more money if we return.

In light of this report we will continue to monitor the situation and update you in due course.

Update 4 - December 2021

Very much to our surprise, on the 1st December our debt collection agency contacted us requesting bank details to receive funds along with the following letter:

We write with reference to the above matter.

The Debtor has made an initial payment of £705.00 on 30th November 2021 which is currently being processed. We will send a remittance to you after the funds have been retained for 14 days in accordance with our terms of business.

Our Enforcement Agent will manage this instalment arrangement and take further enforcement steps if the Debtor fails to adhere to the agreed terms. This may include removal of any goods that the Enforcement Agent has seen at the address on the Writ.

This of course, is very welcomed news and we look forward to receiving the final sum owed and to conclude the entire affair.

Update 5 - December 2021

Just before Christmas, the welcomed news that the final funds had cleared and payment received. This finally brings this whole fiasco to conclusion. There has been no further communication between us and Donovan, not that we were expecting any. I’m sure Donovan would simply like to see the back of us, which of course, now that the matter is resolved, there is no need for further engagement.

At the start of the build, Donovan was shown this website and agreed to the whole build being documented; I assume on the basis of it being used to promote his business. With this knowledge, I am very surprised by our own experience. It will of course remain published here as a cautionary tale for others in the future.

Update 6 - April 2023

Having remained in touch with some of Donovan's past 'clients', I've recently learned of a court case success. The result of which was an order to repay the client in full and with costs. Sadly, and following the established pattern, the order was ignored and another debt collection agency will be required.

Further information shows that Donovan is once again trading, under the guise of a new website Annexe Building Direct. Please don't be fooled by the nice looking professional website; it is unfortunately Donovan again! Poke around the site a little and you'll see some telltale signs of the un-professionalism!

Continue on reading to If You Want a Job Done Properly, Do It Yourself!...