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Question DetailsAsked on 1/5/2017

I live in Tampa Florida I hired a handyman to fix my house and gave him a deposit of 1400 up front but he disappear

I needed some work done on my house so I hired this handyman and gave him 1400 deposit for materials as he requested upfront. He had done some work for me in the past and he always came in on time and completed the work. This time he never showed up and has blocked my phone from receiving calls. What are my options?

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2 Answers


He would be entitled to the fair value of his labor and installed materials (including normal overheads and markups) though that sounds like nothing because he did not show up - then the remainder of the $1400 he would have to either refund or offer for your acceptance a corresponding amount of the uninstalled materials, if they were already bought - which in this case would presumably be all of them if the deposit was all for materials.

Bear in mind there are a lot of reasons you might not be able to get through - is he blocking your calls, is his mailbox full (sick or on vacation or called away by family emergency maybe), has his number been changed, has he died maybe or in hospital or such - try to check on those, even go by his home/business if you have his address, or find his home number if different than work number (which is commonly a cell number for Handymen). Since he gave good performance in the past, I would suspect one of those is the case - or perhaps he has a major health or drug/alcohol problem or such - all those above are common reasons for a contractor to "disappear" without it being fraud.

Since he is blocking calls, and assuming you do not want him to finish the job (which appears to be your position), your first step should probably be to send a certified mail, return receipt, signature required letter stating that because of his non-performance and calls being blocked, you want your deposit back within 5 business days. Or you could say you either want contact with him about finishing the job or that you want your money back within 5 days if he does not intend to go ahead with it.

If he fails to respond or will not give the money back, then your recourse is to call his Bond (he was bonded, right ?) to recover your money. If not bonded, his Liability Insurance company might pay off, though commonly not without a court order - likely from Small Claims Court for the $ amount you are talking about.

If you believe he skipped out with the money intentionally, you could contact the local police department or state/local consumer fraud division (commonly in district attorney's or state attorney general's office) to see if they have a history of complaints about him, and to file a criminal fraud complaint against him. If he is still around and has your money still, that might shake it loose.

If you do file a fraud claim, note you may have coverage under your credit card (file a complaint with them) if paid that way, or you may be able to recover the amount by which the $1400 exceeds your homeowner's insurance deductible if he was unbonded and uninsured - though if only a few hundred $ the increased premium for 3-5 years for filing a claim would probably make that a bad idea.

Good Luck

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is Erick in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List.

I'm very sorry to hear about the trouble you had with the Handyman. We'll be happy to help find top rated Handyman that can fix what the other provider didn't do. We also have a complaint resolution team under our Gold Plan that can look into resolving this issue, but it doesn't look like you have a subscription to the List yet. You can join by visiting or by giving us a call. Our call center is available 8:00 am-9:00 pm weekdays and 8:00-5:00 pm ET on Saturdays. We have three different plans available, with the Gold Plan being the one you would need to join for us to be able to look into getting money back or making sure the provider completes the job.

Thanks for your question and we look forward to assisting you!

Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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