Contact 2: Mending Fences

Contact 2
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Consumers report they've "hit a wall" with a Granite City fence contractor. They pay him thousands of dollars but the fence never gets built.   The Metro East business owner is not returning calls from his customers.  So they've taken their complaints to the Better Business Bureau.   Kathy Edwards was one of them.

'I have 21 holes and no fence. I actually needed 22 holes to finish it.'
Kathy bought her house a year ago.  This past December she hired  Arrow Fence Company to build a fence around her back yard.  It's still not done.   Chris Thetford of the BBB says the company came to their attention in recent weeks.

'This company is taking money from consumers to do jobs, construct fences but then not actually completing the fences. '

Four complaints in the past year all focus on product and services.  A businessman from East St. Louis paid 'Arrow Fence Company' almost 13 thousand dollars, a down payment for a chain link fence.

A man from Carrollton Il paid the contractor twenty five hundred dollars.  That was half of the total cost.   And Kathy paid over seven hundred dollars, again half of what she owed. But she says all she has to show for her money is post holes in the ground.

'He left the property just holes, I went out and bought the stakes and caution tape because I didn`t want anybody to be hurt walking through the yard. '

We found no one at the offices of Arrow Fence on Lake Dr.  Nor did we get a return phone call from the owner of the company.  Kathy got no response from the owner.

'It`s just frustrating, I put the money up front trusting him, and to find out later that his business license is expired'.

The BBB says you want to get the terms of the agreement in writing and clearly spelled out before you pay anything.  And Thetford says never pay half up-front.

'At the most pay one third at the start of the contract pay about a third when the contract is half done and hold the other third back for when the job is completed. '

The Better Business Bureau wants to know if you've had a bad experience with this company.  And remember to check with the Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor.  Below you`ll find a link to the BBB's website where you'll find tips for hiring. And if you have a consumer complaint call us at 800 782-2222. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday from 11am till 1pm.

The weather's going to change soon and you may be thinking about some home improvement projects.  Do your homework first.

The BBB offers the following tips on hiring a contractor:
•    Make sure you have a written contract that spells out exactly what you will be getting, types of materials to be used, expected work deadlines and when and how payments will be made.
•    It is usually a good idea to pay 1/3 of the price at the time the agreement is made, 1/3 when work has begun and the final 1/3 on completion of the job.
•    Ask for several references and check them thoroughly.
•    Check the firm`s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or 314-645-3300.

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Contact 2 has resolved consumer complaints totaling millions of dollars over the years. Those cases have not only brought peace of mind to the consumers who asked Contact 2 for help, but also shed light on allegations of deception and wrongdoing levied against businesses, contractors and government agencies.

Our team focuses on gathering the facts about what happened. The process involves seeking out both sides of the story. It’s not always what consumers want to hear, but we have an obligation to be fair to the entity accused of causing the problem. Working to clearly understand the details is an important part of the job. Sometimes these cases can be resolved quickly. Other times, Contact 2 will spend weeks or months getting to the bottom of the problem. We appreciate the patience of those who’ve asked us to help them.

While dealing with the complaints of individual consumers is a big part of the job for Contact 2, we’re also dedicated to informing consumers of the latest scams, rip-offs and fraud schemes. Technology has made it easier than ever for criminals to target consumers. Contact 2 monitors reports of this activity around the world to help arm the public with tools to protect their personal information and hard- earned money. We share that information with consumers on-air and online.

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