Savannah residents share their ‘nightmare’ experiences with contractors
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s that time of the year again when many people decide to have work done on their homes.
But Better Business Bureau says, if you’re not careful, it could also be your most expensive mistake.
People in the area shared what they call ‘nightmare’ experiences with contractors.
If you’re thinking about having any work done on your home you’ll want to hear this, first.
Laura Amador and her young family had no idea what they were signing themselves up for two summers ago.
“I’ve never been that angry with somebody,” Homeowner Laura Amador said.
The family of four hired a licensed and insured local contractor to remodel their kitchen and several other areas of their home on Wilmington Island a $70,000 project.
They signed a contract agreed on the cost of materials and had an end date.
It all sounded good on paper.
“The very first day kind of had us scratching our heads. That’s when they removed the wall. They said it wasn’t a load-bearing wall surprise! It was a load-bearing wall,” Homeowner Laura Amador said.
Amador goes on to describe a constant battle.
“You hire a contractor so you don’t have to be the one overseeing the project, right? Well, I ended up having to do a lot of micro-managing just to make sure that things got accomplished that we hired them to do,” Amador said.
Amador says, near the end, he stopped responding to her.
She’s not alone.
“He’s like a ghost. I have no physical address for him,” Brittany DeBergeret said.
Brittany DeBergeret says, she’s been fooled.
Last summer, she hired a different Savannah contractor to fix her roof and remodel her kitchen a $40,000 job.
She says he insisted on a $20,000 cashier’s check up front but she says after just three days of work, he never showed up again.
She did not sign a contract putting herself in a tough spot.
“One, I need the money, and two, it’s just not right.”
Some people in this position may consider going to the police.
Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau says you likely won’t get far.. unless you find other victims to come forward too.
“If there’s only one, then it’s a civil issue. It may be fraud, it may be theft, but it doesn’t rise to the level that they’re going to pursue it,” Tom Stephens said.
The BBB’s advice: always do your research before hiring anyone especially a contractor.
“The internet makes searching for issues with any business quite easy. So, you can just Google that company’s name and put the words “review” or “scam” behind it, and you’ll find all sorts of stuff,” Stephens said.
Amador’s big take-away?
Get everything in writing.
“Contractors will say anything in the moment to appease and please, but there’s nothing to hold them accountable unless you get it in writing,” Amador said.
Amador told me she ended up having to hire another contractor to finish the job and fix what the first guy messed up.
She says working with an interior designer ended up saving them a lot of money because they were able to pinpoint what was wrong, and refused to pay for work that was not done properly because she had it in writing.
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