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Question DetailsAsked on 11/26/2013

Nan
what can you do when a contractor takes your deposit and runs?

Not an Angie's list contactor - my mistake but the more I delve into things, the more I think it's not a legitimate business - do I call the police? it's listed on another website twice, two different numbers and one's out of service - also, the licenses (2) are being shared by another company - I went for a drive and both addresses listed for these companies are residential homes - I know court/lawyers fees will probably be more than the deposit but any suggestions?

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11 Answers

0
Votes

I don't know if you have a working phone number for this guy but I would try some threats first before hiring a lawyer. In my state there are heavy fines for not being licensed. I would assume your state may be the same. If he answers state that you are calling the Dept. of Consumer Affairs (or what ever agency issues them) and the police and building department. The threat may be enough to get his attention. If not call the mentioned agencies and see what they have to say and you might also call the two companies that have the same number (I did not think this was legal to have multiple names) as to their number being used. If the amount of the deposit falls under your states small claims threshold you could represent your self in court for a small filing fee, most small claims courts are user friendly and you do not have to be a law expert. Just have all your paperwork between you and the contractor in order. And don't beat yourself up over your choice. There are many con artists out there that have perfected the game and not even Angie's, BBB or neighbors recommendations are fool proof. I had one customer years ago that wanted me to do a job but kept saying another contractor's price was half of mine. He kept stopping by the job I was doing to get me to lower his and since I would not he went with the other guy. Well the guy skipped out with a 50%deposit. This guy was smart! He would do a few jobs nicely in a neighborhood and then get deposits rom those that recommended him and off he went. My customer was persistant and did finally get his money back. Don't give up!


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

1
Vote

This same question was aked yesterday. I don't know if you asked it twice or are experiencing the same problem. Either way, here is my response from that thread:


If a contractor takes a down payment and does nothing for the job such as having materials delivered or showing up to work on it he is guilty of fraud in most cases. Call the police and district attorney to see what charges can be filed against him.


Once he does even the slightest bit of work or even had materials delivered to the jobsite after taking the down payment the issue becomes a civil matter, in which you will have to get an attorney involved. You'll have to file a suit for breach of contract.


How did you find this guy? Did you do your homework on him before signing the contract? You didn't hire the cheapest bidder, trying to save a buck, did you? Make sure you write plenty of reviews everywhere you can on him so others will not make the same mistake. Then make sure you thoroughly check the reputation of any contractor you hire. Never hire a door-to-door salesman.

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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Re: Todd's answer - yes I did my due diligence, including looking up the contractor on the BBB which had no complaints on this company. I actually found him on another "screened" contractors Website, which was giving the company glowing reviews and searched the internet for complaints. Everything pointed to an above board business. It wasn't until he didn't show up that we began to delve deeper and found that the number he wrote on our receipt (no contract) and the website on his business card were bogus. He is also not returning emails and phone calls from the "screened" website so I think calling the police is going to be the next step - thank you for the suggestion (he never came to do any of the work so I would think that would be theft). The licenses are still in force so I think I will also contact the Department of Consumer Protection.

Answered 3 years ago by Nan

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Hope we helped. And keep Todd and me posted as to how you make out.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

1
Vote

Sadly, most of the websites referring "screened" contractors are really just lead generation sites that contractors pay for referals. It sounds like you did a lot of work to check him out but it still wasn't enough. Sometimes, the crooked ones still slip through.


Another thought for you: Many local news channels have a consumer help series where they will seek out and humiliate/highlight bad contractors as well as others who commit fraud on the public. I'm sure the police department will gladly take your report and file the appropriate charges. Laws vary by state but here in Texas there is no licensing for contractors. But, taking money while providing no services has been prosecuted as fraud. It comes across the news here every once in a while that a crooked contractor has been sentenced to jail time, probation, and/or paying restitution.


Keep us posted and good luck.

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

0
Votes

Hello, this is Meranda with Angie's List.


My first recommendation would be to log into your account at www.angieslist.com and leave a review on the business. This will help alert other Angie's List members to their practices and save them the trouble of hiring these guys.


Our Newsroom just this month wrote about what to do when a contractor screws you over. I hope that article helps you in your situation. If not, the advice others have given already is a good place to start.


Good luck!

Answered 3 years ago by Meranda

0
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You don't say what make you think he has run with your deposit - many contractors take a deposit and don't start work for a month or more, especially if custom cabients or countertop or such have to be ordered and delivered, and most like to book work 2 or more months in advance so maintain a steady workflow.

Have you talked to him on the phone about start of work, or made a "legal" attempt to contact him - by certified mail, return receipt, demanding your money back for lack of performance ? If not, then the police and so forth should tell you that you have not done your part - without failure to perform by a contract specified start date, or failing to finish by a specified completion date, you probably have no case yet, and could even be sued for false arrest if they did arrest him. Certainly, without a failure to do anything on the job on a specified start date, there would be no fraud.

Having multiple names on the same license is not illegal in some states, and is actually common in states where for instance a master plumber is required for a plumbing business, and one old master plumber acts as master plumber for multiple companies, supervising (hopefully) a number of journeyman and apprentice plumbers in several different companies. I had a job once where, because it was a large job, we identified 5 different in-state blasting companies as potential bidders for a large precision blasting job - at the pre-bid conference one man showed up - turned out he was the licensed blaster for pretty much every blasting and excavation company in the state, and just moved from job to job to do the explosives and blasting work while the different companies did the excavation, concrete, and such.

The working out of homes is certainly an indication you are talking a small company, but not an automatic red flag - there are many viable and responsible companies, generally sole proprietorships, who operate out of the owner's home. I can think of several offhand locally that do so and I would think certainly turn well over a million $ a year in gross receipts.

If you are sure there is funny business going on here, I would do some research and get your eggs in a row before filing formal complaints, though you could certainly ask several agencies if they have been getting complaints about this individual/company.

Several of the other comments refer to the Consumer Protection Agency - they might be able to help, as might the police or your local District Attorney's Office, or state Attorney General's Office Consumer Fraud division.

For action against him if this was a profession that requires licensing in your state, though it will commonly not get you any $ back, the state licensing board or equivalent is what you want. Getting a conviction from them against him for unethical or unlicensed operation would support a civil fraud case, because you would then have him (if he was unlicensed but should have been) for fraudulent misrepresentation, in many states. Google a phrase similar to this to find the board website - Nebraska Plumbers license board

I presume he was not licensed or bonded - for this type of case, both might be responsible to cover him for a fraud related to a contract, assuming you even have a legal contract at this point, which might also be in doubt since you said all you had was a receipt. This puts you in a real bad situation, because without a contract for performance including price and schedule and scope of work, it is your word versus his about when he was supposed to start, what the work scope was, etc.

If he is still in town and you can contact him and imply he has faild to perform and you want your money back or you will notify authorities, he might give the money back to avoid legal trouble. If you can prove he has skipped town, then your fraud case gets stronger, but of course pursuing it gets a lot tougher.


Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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Re: LCD - he came to give estimate to do some plumbing and electrical work that he said would be done in one day. There were no special parts that needed to be ordered, no cabinets, no countertops, etc. We set up a date for services, Monday November 11 at 8:30 - on the Friday before, he showed up to get the cash deposit (his idea, yes, red flags should have been rasied but I checked everywhere I could think of to check his legitimacy and it all looked good!).


He did not show on time on Monday and after an hour past time he was supposed to be there, I called his cell phone (no voice mail set up), called the number he had hand written on the receipt ("not in service at this time"), went to the website on his business card (for an Ohio company) and finally texted him. He said he had an emergency job and would get back to me. When I didn't hear from him 4 hours later, I texted him again and asked if this would leave him enough time to do job that day. He called and we set up another date, 2 days later, on Wednesday. On Wednesday, he did not show on time again (8:30-9am). When we contacted him again by text, he said he had an inspection to do and would be right over. At 11:30, he texted and said he was on his way (from a location 20 mins away). 2 1/2 hours later, he still did not show nor contact us to say he was running late. We decided he was just too busy to do the job and texted him that we were cancelling and wanted our deposit back. After numerous attempts to text, email and call him, we still have not heard A WORD from ANYONE associated with this company and are ready to call police or Dept of Consumer Protection.

Answered 3 years ago by Nan

0
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Ahhh - I had not caught on that you had multiple contacts with him about doing the job - definitely sounds like he is giving you the runaround.

Sounds like a Consumer Protection complaint with attorney general's office or local district attorney's office is in order. Ask them about filing a formal police report for fraud - some local law enforcement agencies start with police reports, others with the DA's office on fraud complaints.

Good luck - the cash deposit (if using cash was his idea) should have raised a red flag. I hope you have a receipt for it. Obviously , with cash you cannot stop check payment or file a credit card fraud complaint.

If by check you could talk to your bank about using bank procedure to put a fraud alert on HIS bank account with HIS bank - that would put a crimp in his operation too, as the bank will typically freeze funds in his account once they receive a fraud complaint, till the DA or court releases them.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

0
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This happened to me. I trusted Kenneth Keith Spivey of K & L All Home Improvement of Middletown, OH. He had done many jobs for us and said he would build a carport. Keith stopped by, said he would like to get started on the carport, needed to go get the building supplies. I gave him the estimated $700 to buy the materials. He never came back, won't answer any phone calls and I am unable to reach him as he is no longer living at his previous address. I filed a complaint in Civil Court, also filed criminal charges. I reported him to BBB and Ripoff website. I am searching for any other way to expose this man for stealing my $700. I spoke with an attorney who told me to file the criminal charges. I would like to warn others to never give them money up front and always check criminal background. Keith has an extensive criminal record including theft.

.

Answered 6 months ago by Guest_9135744

0
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Company name is Integritys Neighborhood Plumber,

phone # 330-907-0591 and 330-515-0147

Name is Matther Zeber.


this is what i post on BBB and he is on Craiglist a lot


I found the similar cases here in BBB and that is why i am filing this complaint as well. Found the guy contact info on C list and used him for 2 services already. Was not impressed at the 2nd job as he coaxed me into returning an item without receipt to Home Depot for him. I did it as a favor for him so he can help me out with my leaky sink. After he told me that the sink might be broken, (only for 1 year use) we went and got a new one. Then after he installed it he charges me $95 just to do that. He also guarantee life time warranty on his labor. Which is a bogus as when i called him a week later that it still leaks, he said that it could be the sink issue now. WHAT THE HECK! He also wanted to charge at least $20 to come and take a look and charge me that if it is not the faucet issue. He also said that he will be in the area on certain day and i waited for him but to no call no show. When i called him, his excuse was that he did not know that i would be home. He makes a lot of excuses for no call no show. I was so mad at him that i actually had a panic attack that lasted for 1 hour. Thinking that i never learn from my mistake to use him again, i just called him 2 days ago about a kitchen electric to gas conversion. He said ok, and came to take a look at my parents house. He took $125 and said that is for material and will come back. He left for the whole day and did not call. When i called him, he said that he did not have a number to call back to and is waiting for me to call him. What a load of rubbish. So i was upset and as always, he act all righteous and just. He told me that he cannot do the whole job he quoted me and will need me to find a carpenter for the other job that will impact the conversion. He told me to call him again when i am ready. Whenever i call him, he always act busy and puts me on hold for a long time or said to call me back which sometimes he did not. So i was left stranded. I texted him and told him that i have a good friend that can do the job for the carpenter and wanted a better pricing. He did not reply the whole day. The next day i called him and and texted him,upset that i did not get any response on better pricing. He said that i was rude that i texted him in the am, first of all, this guy did not silence his phone and you can turn it off for all i care. I woke up early in the morning to go to work and text him, not knowing that he is bothered by it. He said i was rude and make a point that he cannot revolve his world around me. When i tried to cut him off as i was fuming at this time, he hung up on me. I called him for the next 8 times and he threatened to call the cops on me! He said harrasment. I apologize on that and told him to pay my non working parents back their $125 back. Have not hear from him since then. I will call the police today and see what they can do with this joker. I am done being nice to him and since he is the one that said about harrasment and calling the police, I shall do it myself.

Answered 5 months ago by Dynamixe




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