February 9, 2007
An Augusta woman says she's out nearly $5000 to a bogus contractor. She says the man promised to fix her house, but instead he only made things worse.
This is another story of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Unfortunately, Verna Wright paid a pretty hefty price to be able to warn you about it.
"It's rotten all under here. He was supposed to put on boards," she said, showing us the damage.
Verna Wright is in a big hole these days: "$4,800," she told 12 On Your Side.
The money is now in the hands of a man she paid to fix her house.
"He sounded believable and credible."
But he wasn't, and now he's left Verna with a bigger mess than she had in the first place.
"Look all around the trimming," Verna said. "This is rotten, this is what he was supposed to replace."
"There's his trash," she went on.
"I didn't pay forty-eight-hundred dollars...I could have done this myself."
The man knocked on Verna's door promising to repair her house.
"He said he was going to put some kind of vinyl on the house."
He gave her a work order that had a well-known home improvement store's logo at the top of it. 12 On Your Side found that anyone can print those off of the store's website, and they're meant strictly for business with the home improvement giant.
In less than a day, the man who called himself David Sizemore said he was done.
Without checking out his work, Verna paid him the nearly $5000 in cash he asked for.
"I thought that was it. I trusted him," she said.
She shouldn't have. He was gone and Verna was left with a mess, sprayed on paint everywhere--the windows, the roof, even the hose.
So how do you keep from falling into the same trap as Verna?
If you're planning on getting work done on your home, get three independent quotes and avoid the people going door-to-door.
Get a written work order that has a completion date and total cost.
And lastly, check out the person's credentials.
"If they're claiming to be a contractor, you want to call our office, license and inspection department, and verify this person does have a business license," said Rob Sherman of Richmond County's License and Inspection Department.
To verify a license in Columbia County, call Building and Commercial Services at 706-868-3420.
To file a complaint in Columbia County, call the Customer Service line at 311 (you MUST be in Columbia County to call this).
Columbia County also has a great website with tips for hiring a reputable contractor; click here.
To verify a license or file a complaint in Richmond County, call 706-312-5050.
12 On Your Side called the number on the work order Verna received. A man answered the call, but said he was just borrowing the phone.
He says he doesn't know anything about any of the events in this story.