Valley mom says A/C repairman took money, didn't finish job

Posted at 10:02 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 01:25:29-04
When you hire a contractor, it's best to get three estimates and never pay too much upfront -- even if you think you can trust them. 
Samantha Baker of Gold Canyon tells me her issue started as an air conditioning problem. on a recommendation, she had an air conditioning repairman Juan Gutierrez come and take a look.
"He came out that same day and was like, 'Hey I can totally help you,'" she said. 
She said he showed her his certifications so she felt comfortable with him doing the work.
"He told me he is the main trainer for Salt River Project anytime they're training on electricity or air conditioning," she said.
And what he found, scared her to death.
"He told me my barn was going to burn and all my animals were going to die," she said. 
She said the man scared her enough to pay more than $5,000 for the fix.
"My heads spinning, we have to do this today," she remembers.
Samantha said Juan came out to her home a couple of times to do something to a breaker box and pull part of a cable from beneath the soil, but she couldn't get him to finish the job. So Samantha let me know.
When we contacted Juan, he had plenty to say.
He admits he isn't licensed and didn't do $5,000 worth of work and hasn't returned any money to her. Still, Juan said he deserved to be paid for what he did do
Samantha disagrees.
"He was just blowing smoke," she said. 
She filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. The agency investigated and recommended charges to the Pinal County Attorney's Office. The office told ABC15 Juan is being charged with theft and contracting without a license. His arraignment is expected at the end of October.
Still, Samantha is stuck with a house she's told us is a fire hazard and she can't afford to fix. She knows what to do when she does get the money.
"Get three bids from three licensed contractors, then you have protections," she said. 
Need my help?
Call volunteers with the Assistance League of Phoenix (855) 323-1515. Or find me on Facebook or Twitter.