"I shouldn't have done it, but I did."
It's what David and Tracey now say about the large amount they paid a contractor ahead of a job.
The Payson couple wanted a 110-foot chain link fence installed along their property line. They say they do most of the work on their property themselves, but this was too big of a job.
They looked in their local phone book and saw an ad for Iron Horse Welding Work LLC. The business owner, Jose Flores Espinosa, gave them a decent price, the couple says.
The total would be around $3,300 and Flores wanted a lot of it upfront.
"Yes, he got more than half," David says.
They paid $1,900 upfront and say they couldn't get Flores to come back.
The couple says there were many excuses.
"He said he was in the automobile accident. His truck had broke down and his workers couldn't get up here," Tracey says.
Finally, weeks after the contracted completion date, they say Flores finally showed.
"He marked with paint exactly where all the boundary lines were," the couple says.
David and Tracey say he did nothing more but he asked for the rest of the money anyway. The couple says they paid it and didn't see Flores again.
A check with the state's Registrar of Contractors shows Flores does not have a contractor's license required for the job and the ROC reports at least 23 complaints involving him over the last six years.
When Tracey and David let me know about their issues, our Let Joe Know/Better Business Bureau volunteer Bruce took it on and didn't let up.
Bruce got action right away.
"He just kept dogging him and dogging him," David says.
Workers came out and they measured the area and started putting in the fence posts.
"Once they put the posts in, Bruce kept on them," David says.
Although there were delays, workers did come back.
They attached connecting poles and then the fencing itself.
Flores finished what should have been completed months ago.
He never denied that he owed the couple.
"I don't how to thank you guys because if it hadn't been for you, this never would have happened," David said.
Looking back, David and Tracey say they made some mistakes they hope you don't make.
Before hiring a contractor, be sure to do the following:
- Always check for a license and reputation online,
- Never pay the entire contract amount before work is done,
- Try paying 25% as a deposit and then pay more as there is progress,
- Make sure that is all written in a contract.
If the contractor doesn't agree, given all of the complaints I'm seeing, I would move on!
Check out contractor's licenses, actions taken against them and advice on hiring a contractor through the Arizona Registrar of Contractor's website.