12 On Your Side: Contractor accused of shoddy work, not having business license

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A homeowner says she got more than she bargained for after hiring a local contractor to remodel her bathroom.

"Oh he bragged, he bragged that he had done this lady's bathroom and she was so happy," said Mary Ann Ciancia.

It was a sales pitch she says was hard to beat.

Ciancia says she paid close to $3,000 to contractor Handyman Harris to remodel her shower. Ciancia says it was a big mistake.

"The water would not drain in the shower," Ciancia said.

She says the company refused to fix the problem.

Adding insult to injury, Ciancia says she took pictures showing how Handyman Harris trashed her property.

"They took all the tiles off and threw them under the house," Ciancia said.

She sued, winning a judgment to recoup more than $2,800.

"Oh, I felt great when I walked out of that courtroom," Ciancia said.

But she says owner Donald Harris never paid a penny.

"I would like my money," Ciancia said.

News 12 found Harris outside his home walking his dog and asked if he has any intentions of paying Ciancia her money.

"If I get some money, yeah, she'll get her money," Harris said.

News 12 checked with state and county officials and found Harris did not have a license to do business. We asked him about that fact.

"No, I didn't," Harris said.

We told him it was illegal, too.

"Well, such is life," Harris said.

Ciancia says she should have investigated Harris before hiring him.

"My, my fault. I should have done that. I really should have," Ciancia said.

And she says reality has set in that she may never get her money back.

"It's hard. It's really hard when you know someone's walking the streets and they ripped you off," Ciancia said.

To avoid this from happening to you, always ask to see a business license and or permit before doing work with any contractor.

There is a 10-year statute of limitation to recover money from a judgment. After that, you're out of luck.

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