RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – After a recent story aired on CBS 6 News about a local contractor being sued for allegedly taking a customer’s money and not finishing the job, more homeowners are coming forward.
The Better Business Bureau tells us it has seen plenty of cases like that. In this tough economy, there are many contractors who simply run out of money and can’t finish certain jobs. There are ways, though to protect yourself.
Some homeowners in Chesterfield tell us they learned that the hard way. One woman who lives in Walton Park showed us a light fixture dangling from the wall and a toilet ripped up from her floor that’s now sitting in her downstairs bathtub.
She claims a contractor skipped out of her before finishing the work, allegedly taking her money. Now the woman tells us she’s leery about letting anyone else finish the work.
CBS 6 News also got a similar call from a homeowner a few miles away from Walton Park. The Midlothian woman, Pat Davis has a similar story, but with a different contractor.
She says she hired John Chisholm and his Top 2 Bottom Contractors business for repair work that was never done. Davis says she put down deposits on a job that she was told would initially cost seventy four hundred bucks. Then she says the contractor increased the price.
“He said he was going to have to raise the price to ten thousand dollars and told me I’m going to need an additional deposit of three thousand five hundred fifty dollars” Davis explained.
She says she paid the additional money and then found out Chisholm wasn’t license.
“When I found out, I called him and told him I wanted to cancel the job and asked for my money back. He informed me he spent it on his personal bills and didn’t have it,” Davis said.
CBS 6 News obtained a copy of an arrest warrant that was issued for Chisholm and also obtained a copy of a criminal complaint filed by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
It says Chisholm violated regulations when he contracted with Davis because he had no license or certificated.
CBS 6 News contacted Chisholm by phone. He never denied taking money from Davis without doing the work. He did tell us it was Davis who breached their contract by cancelling the job.
Chisholm says Davis will have to get her money back through the courts. She is.
CBS 6 News also obtained a copy of a garnishment summons filed by Davis. It shows a judgment for Davis for more than seven thousand six hundred dollars.
“Then he’s gone and quit his job. He quit it as soon as I put the garnishment on his wages. Now I’m out of all that money and there’s nobody out there to help me,” explained Davis.
Again, both women used different contractors, but made the same mistakes, according to the Better Business Bureau. They each paid lots of money up front without knowing enough about their perspective contractors.
“Always write a check to the company. Never write it in the name of the person. Make sure you have a copy of the contract. You also want to have a license number of the person from the Board of Contractors. Also make sure the contractor gives you a start date and a date he expects to finish it, “BBB’s Barbara Homiller said.
If you have similar problems with a contractor, Homiller says you should contact the Better Business Bureau.