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Question DetailsAsked on 7/10/2014

what do i do if the cabinet maker took a large deposit and never did the work in california

I paid a cabinet maker a $17,000 deposit to do custom kitchen cabinets and a bathroom vanity. He had been in business in san marcos, ca for 4 yrs and had good references. It had been over a month since I had heard from him and he didn't answer his emails or my phone calls. I went by his shop and was told that they moved a month ago. What do I do? Where do I start?

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2 Answers


OK - guess you know it now, but tht was WAYYYY too big an initial payment. Did the new people at his prior location have any forwarding info ? Maybe a notice in the window giving new address and phone number ? Check with local post office serving his prior shop address to see if he left forwarding info - they will not give it to you but should tell you if there is one, then you can send a certified return receipt letter to him at the old address and they will forward it to his forwarding address, then if it comes back no forwarding address or undeliverable you should have an idea - plus the returned envelope will have the computer-printed sticker with the forwarding address on it to allow you to track him one step further maybe. Search by his name on the state contractor licensing list - may have new address, if he has one. Also, google both the company name and his individual name to see if newer contact info pops up.
If your area has online court records, do a search by both his name and company name to see if any court action. Ditto to federal bankruptcy court filings. If you suspect fraud, talk to your bank (or credit card company if paid that way) - they will commonly pursue his accounts through the banking system to see if they can track him, then work with the bank FBI or Secret Service (depending on type of transaction). Particularly if paid by credit card - you may be within the timeframe to file a charge dispute and have them reverse it. Contact his bonding company about calling his bond - plus they might have his current contact info. Also contact his insurance company, because for fraud you might have a claim against his insurance as well - they might have current info on him. Bonding company, assuming he has skipped, might opt either for a refund (probable in this case) or them having the work completed by another contractor. If no joy there, and if he did not perform any work, talk to your local police department about filing a fraud complaint. Also, depending on your policy, your homeowners policy might have some fraud protection coverage for you. And of course, if looks like fraud, seeing an attorney on ways to pursue him might pay off - through private investigators, online searches, etc.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Sorry - I spaced on you being in California - California Department of Consumer Affairs might also be helpful -

Also - as far as locating his business - if you can't find it googling and such, call the state state license board and they may help track him down if his info on file is not current -

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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