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Homeowners losing big money by making big deposits

house paint home AP
Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 15, 2021

There's another epidemic going around right now, but this one doesn't threaten your health.

If you're remodeling or hiring a contractor for any reason, it affects you.

Janet and her family found out the hard way as they continued a home makeover and hired someone for one job.

"Painting our house on the outside and inside, " Janet says.

They hired Joseph Jefferson for a $6,000 painting job.

But to "save the date," they say Jefferson demanded $2,500 upfront.

The contract shows a late March start date.

Janet says that didn't happen and shows texts asking when Jefferson was going to show up.

"He wouldn't give us a date. He kept lying about when he'd be here. He would not show up," she says.

I'm seeing more contractors demand big deposits and not come back. They are licensed and unlicensed people.

We couldn't find an Arizona contractor's license for Jefferson, making it even tougher to get that money back.

He has no business listed on the contract. Addresses we found didn't lead anywhere, and when Janet tried to sue Jefferson in small claims court, she found the same thing.

"They couldn't find him, they couldn't serve him, so unfortunately it was dismissed," she says.

By phone, Jefferson told me he did work at the house and intended to finish. He says Janet didn't give him enough time before hiring someone else.

The family had to pay more but did hire another painter and finally did get the job done.

"It's disappointing and frustrating because he's gotten away with this," Janet says.

Next time, she says she won't give that much money before any work is done.

She wants to buy supplies herself and just pay the person for their labor.

Good idea!

Hiring a licensed contractor is also important.

You can see if there are complaints being investigated by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

There's also a Recovery Fund set up to reimburse victims. It's only for people who hired licensed contractors.