Help! Contractor skipped out with $6,300; claims he was injured

8 Replies

People say experience is the best teacher... well I've learned a hard lesson. I made the completely newbie mistake of paying up front, although it shouldn't have been upfront, the project got delayed so much it caught on to the payment plan and I stuck to it.

Lets just call this guy Mr. Ryan; I bought my first property last summer and I knew it needed a full paint job which played in me offering a little less for the property. There was this one gutter & downspout feeding into a corner of the house and making a big puddle, my idea was to have it drain to the other side and out the side of the garage into the bushes. Off a Groupon coupon I got someone to come and clean & service the gutters, enter Mr. Ryan, who seemed like a real nice guy. I told him if he could move the gutter to drain the other side and he said no problem! $100 bucks. I leave for work and get a call from my wife, upon removing the gutter water damage beneath was exposed. A big 24" hole on the siding, siding completely gone beneath the paint, the 2 x 12" plank completely gone, the load bearing joist rot a good 4". (See picture #1)

I go home, see the damage and go OMG. this plus the paint plus replacing all the bad pieces of siding will cost a whole lot of cash. So on that moment, Ryan come in: Hey I can fix that. really? Oh yeah I'm a contractor I do all sorts of work. Paint the siding? I'm your guy. Replace bad siding? I'm your guy. Kitchen backsplash tile? I'm your guy. Ok, so we discuss payment, namely: me not having any. So we agree on a quite (at the time) prorated payment schedule. $2,400 upfront for material, $1950 after 2 months (set date); $1950 2 months after that (set date). So it started Ok, first with the backspash working 1 or 2 hours at a time and going out to check on "other jobs", blocked out the big hole with tons of duct tape. Time went by, hardly any advance, there was always an excuse and a future day: this Friday I'll be there, that day came and he wouldn't show up. Oh we need good weather. Good weather came, he wouldn't show up. Or he would, for an hour or so. Eventually the date we set for the next installment came by.... Oh I need the payment. Mmm you haven't done much. Oh I need that to bring out my crew. Ok so I wrote a check. A crew showed up for 1 day. Pretty sure it was the windiest day of the year, plus some snow and they were replacing siding. Again, after that, no shows, more excuses. Christmas holidays come up, ok well after the holidays. Ryan finally commits to a date to which he will show up no excuses, that day comes by, no show. I call and there's a story. His brother was in a car accident on New Year's Eve, and was in a coma. I backed off, gave him some space. Couple weeks pass, I reach out again, his brother had just passed away. I backed off some more. More weeks go by, he commits to finishing the project, does show up, but its time for the next payment. Again I express concern there's hardly any work done but he again tells me he needs it to cover payroll and get a crew there. So I write a check and he commits to a date. That day comes by and again no show. I call him up, and another personal tragedy, his mother just had a stroke. So I back off, months go by and he claims he is the primary caregiver to his mom (in Ohio). It's important to point out he would cry on the phone when I called, so all I could do is just say I understood and tell him to take care of that and dont worry about my house. After some time we talk again, and he agrees to a date one more time and assures me it will all be done 100% while I am out of the country. I came back, fully expecting the house to be done and no work has been done. I walk outside and see that his ladder which had been on my backyard the whole time is gone, so he definitely showed up. I called and no answer, voicemails and no answer, eventually I get a text back. Oh, sorry Jerry, I did stop by your house and suffered a horrible fall. I'm at the hospital with a broken jaw, along with a selfie of him on a hospital bed with bandages on his face and a gown. A few weeks go by, I sent him a text asking if he could talk now and get a reply saying something like: "This is Ryan's nephew, he had a bad fall and is undergoing surgery I am taking his messages"

So this is where I am now... 2 months have passed since that happened. I hired a professional company and had all that made and paid them $8,000. So together with unexpected medical bills, some plumbing issues and paying down student loans I'm pretty broke. I don't know what to do, not sure if it was all a story, if it was all true, he claimed he was bonded licensed and insured but I never saw a copy of it, I'm scared i am liable for his hospital bills, but there might have never even been an accident and hes hoping I just let it go.


You are an idiot! Sorry im trying to remain professional at all times but... You are an idiot! I know some people that will get your money back and a lot more for the "inconvenience". And he jaw will be broken for real.

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Originally posted by @Tab B. :

You are an idiot! Sorry im trying to remain professional at all times but... You are an idiot! I know some people that will get your money back and a lot more for the "inconvenience". And he jaw will be broken for real.

 Well... indeed. 
I'm much more interested in getting my money back than breaking his jaw tho

Just remember for next time if someone "cleans gutters" off of Groupon does not mean they can do contracting work.

You need to see body of work with doing back splashes, other jobs repairing beams etc.

Mike Holmes mentions it's one of the number one mistakes consumers make to think a deck guy can do a bathroom, or a kitchen guy can do a retaining wall etc.  You don't assume anything. You have to verify insurance coverage, experience, track record of job completion (pictures) on time and on budget (references you can call) etc.