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TROUBLESHOOTER: Woman Unhappy With Contractor

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POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 5:24pm

UPDATED: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 9:05am

EL PASO - If you hire a contractor and pay them something like $25,000 you expect a job that's professional and complete. But we've met an El Paso woman who says the contractor has ripped her off.

"He told me, 'What do you want, a lower price and cheap work, or a higher price and professional work?'" Irma Lugo told us, speaking of the owner of a construction company she hired.

But Lugo says while she paid for it, she didn't get professional work. After living in her home for more than 30 years, she wanted to extend the living room and build a patio. So she hired C.H. Construction. But as soon as the first job was done, she says she noticed some issues.

"Once he finished the rock wall, that was our fist indication; he didn't show up for 2 weeks," Lugo said. She said the extended absences were just the first straw.

"We'd get home and there'd be nails on the floor, where they eat their burritos or whatever lunch they had, they would just discard on the lawn," Lugo said.

She paid $26,500 for the job to be done in 80 days.

"Two weeks prior to those 80 days being up we kept calling him and we'd get his voice mail," Lugo said.

She didn't feel that the job was done. Lugo said she found uneven tile, gaps in her doors, and cracks in her rock wall. She then looked up the company owner's name on the city's website and saw he had several citations. She went to the city to complain but they told her it was a civil matter.

"On the table there's a police report and small claims court," Lugo said. But Lugo wasn't the only one ready to take action.

"I get upset because he had the audacity to report us to a collecting agency," Lugo said.

C.H. Construction says it had to call a credit agency because the contract was for $31,000. They claim they tried to finish the job but Lugo put up "no trespassing signs" and refused to let them. But they say they are ready and willing to finish the job.

"I feel we've given him every opportunity to fulfill this contract, we've given him more than ample time," Lugo said. She told us she spoke with the owner of the company today, and that they are both willing to work out a deal.

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I don't pay a nickel till the job's done. If the company can't agree to that I find one that does.

It happens everywhere. We hired Nieto's Roofing based out of Nations street back in 2009. The job was done so lousy that when it snowed our den caved in, the hallways started to leak and my furniture was ruined. After several calls, a lady who answered the phone finally said "if you don't like it call the police".

This is all assuming the city can even go after the contractor thats licensed by the city. The city has the worst reputation in convicting contractors that skip out on their jobs or just taking the money and running.

Anyone can be a contractor that is bonded and just take the persons money and run. Bonding does nothing in the end really because the city has no way to get that money persons money back.

I empathize with this woman, she is right and taking the company to small claims court isn't going to do any good. Small Claims Court will only allow up to 15,000 dollars in restitution.
Go to next higher court and get the company at that level. It means getting a lawyer but your more sure to get your case setteled, be patient get another company to fix the others mistakes. Document, documrent, document.

actually...the contractor has to have a 50,000 bond which is and should be levied against in just this type of situation...she needs to contact the city again and file a complain against his bond

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