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'Boy, did I mess up': Contractor's history of complaints

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 09:47:46-04

When you pay someone for contracting work, you expect they'll finish the job. But on one recent day, we were in a Phoenix courthouse with a man accused of abandoning the job.

Jose Flores Espinosa allegedly took thousands from a homeowner, didn't finish, and doesn't have a license to do the work.

Flores should know the license requirement.

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) says he pleaded guilty to contracting without a license three times before.

It first happened in 2013 and most recently in 2020.

Between those years, his history is so full of complaints that you may wonder how he could still be doing business.

Last year, Larry told us he had paid Flores and his business Iron Horse Welding Work $4,200 to replace a fence, but Larry says Flores only put the posts in and then did not finish.

"He won't even return a call," Larry says.

Flores promised us he'd be back. He also promised Larry he'd finish the fence or return the money.

Doing research for unlicensed contractor warning

The state's ROC records show 23 complaints involving Jose Flores since 2012.

While several complainants were eventually refunded or didn't prosecute, five cases were referred to the Arizona Attorney General's Office and eight to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Yet none of that kept Flores from taking David and Tracey's money just last year.

"When I started reading the reviews on Yelp, I said, 'boy did I mess up,'" David says.

The couple wanted a fence on their Payson property.

They say Flores asked for all of the money upfront, but the couple says once they paid, they couldn't get him back out.

'I shouldn't have done it, but I did': Couple pays contractor in full upfront

So, what about stiffer penalties for Flores?

The Attorney General's office only says "unfortunately, we cannot comment on this specific case."

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office says four cases are still open.

But things could be changing.

The ROC says "last month our team bundled the cases and requested that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office explore felony charges and enhanced sentencing due to Mr. Espinosa's history."

We were able to help David and Tracey by working with Flores and getting workers to finish their fence.

But Larry says despite promises, Flores did not finish his job.

"I lost basically $4,200," he says.

Jose Flores did get back to me.

He says he did some work for Larry and for many of the homeowners who filed complaints. He says he's tried to get a contracting license several times but hasn't been successful yet.

When hiring a contractor:

  • Make sure they have a license.
  • Check the license for complaints.
  • Check reputations online.
  • Limit upfront money.
  • Pay on progress.
  • Make sure ALL details are in a written signed contract.

Check out contractor's licenses, actions taken against them, and advice on hiring a contractor through the Arizona Registrar of Contractor's website.

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