NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, M O. (KTVI) – A north county homeowner puts money down on a new fence but it never materializes. The contractor disappeared with her money. An experience she says should be a warning for others.
Bernice Braithwaite has a dog, a backyard and an aging wooden fence, three reasons to get a new fence. But how do you get the one you want? Bernice showed us her new wooden fence. It`s not the vinyl fence she wanted installed. In October she hired Joshua Cark after seeing his work at a neighbor's house.
'The price was actually $3,800.00 and he needed $2,300.00 down for materials and a dump.
When I estimated, that was just about what the materials would cost.'
He took down the old fence when Bernice was at work and cashed the check the same day. He promised to return after he got permission from the utility company on where to dig. But Bernice called the utility company after waiting for the contractor to get back to her. 'And then I called him. And told him the utilities had been there. And from then on he never answered his phone’
She called while we were there and got voicemail. I called the same number and the person who answered said I had the wrong number. I didn't find the Alton address listed on the contract. A useless document when you consider Bernice had to spend another $1,100.00. She and friends put up the wooden fence. 'I ended up paying for the fence twice. I paid him for the fence. I had to buy the supplies for another fence. '
Bernice tries to be cautious when selecting a contractor. Perhaps the red flag on this job is the $3,800.00 price tag quoted by Clark. We made a few calls and found a vinyl fence for a yard like Bernice's could run close to $9,000.00. Bernice now says, 'if I never get my money back, I don`t want him to this to anyone else because we all are struggling’.
Bernice Braithwaite encourages the use of small contractors, but use caution if the lowest bid is far below what others charge. Whenever possible hire a contractor who accepts credit card payments. That way you can dispute the transaction if need be.
If you have consumer issues call us at Contact 2. The toll free number is 800-782-2222. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11am and 1pm.