We, too, have fallen victim to a contractor scam, in this case a local window company.
More than a year ago we paid a $1,125 deposit on a couple of replacement windows for our kitchen. We received neither the windows nor a refund. In fact, the windows were never ordered.
We first turned to Gary Harper of “3 On Your Side” for help, as he had secured a refund for another Sun City victim. No luck. Next, we turned to the Better Business Bureau. They said the only thing they could do is forward a copy of our complaint to the business and wait for a reply. Naturally, the scammer didn’t reply, so the case was closed.
We then filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. We had checked the scammer’s contractor’s license on their website and it was listed as “active.” We didn’t know that we could click on “active” for more information, which then told us it was suspended. They tried to help, but we had made a rookie mistake. Once we learned from the manufacturer that no order had been placed for our windows, we asked the scammers to cancel the order and send a refund, which they promised to do more than once. AZROC said they had the authority to make the contractor do the work, but not to give a refund. Finally, we filed a consumer complaint with the attorney general’s consumer protection and advocacy section. First, they misplaced my complaint for a couple of months, then informed me they could only do what the Better Business Bureau did — ask the scammers to contact us. Of course they didn’t.
We looked into small claims court, but first we would have to find the one (out of 40) that had jurisdiction in this area. Then we would have to hire a summons server. If we won the case, the scammers would have up to 10 years to pay us. Meanwhile, the scammers continue to defraud people, five besides ourselves at last count. He has a contractor’s license again, and an “A+” rating from the BBB. Our state’s consumer protection agency will only be interested if it gets multiple complaints.
Don’t fall for a fancy website, friendly and honest-sounding people, an “A+” rating or an “active” license. Read the reviews and complaints on Yelp and other rating sites, and always check with the manufacturer or distributor of whatever you ordered. Once your money is gone, no one is going to help you get it back, or prevent the same thing from happening to others.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here