POSTED: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 7:42pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 12, 2011 - 8:45am
EL PASO - Imagine this: you have two young kids to support, but you're unemployed. Somehow, you manage to get hired for a job where you have to work outside, six days a week, but then you get stiffed on payday. That's the problem an El Paso couple said they're facing; they called our troubleshooters team for help.
With two young kids at home, Deanna Johnson and her fiancee, Christopher Joyner, needed any job they could get. They thought they struck gold when they went on Craigslist and saw an opening for a car detailer. The company hired both of them.
"We looked around forever. We were so excited that we got this job,” said Johnson.
Then, the trouble started. Johnson said the owner of Super Fast Car Wash, Pete Chavez, promised to pay her and Joyner every week, at a rate of $50 per day. However, Joyner said, that didn't happen.
"I asked him, 'Am I going to get paid today?' He said, 'No, we have to wait until Saturday.' So, we wait until Saturday, no work. Monday comes around, I confront him, he gives me nothing," said Joyner.
After working 12 shifts, Johnson said she asked her boss about her compensation. However, when she tried to confront him, she said all she got was a note stating that all she would get was $100 – not the $600 she was expecting.
Johnson said she was fired after that.
"He told me that I didn't meet his criteria or standards,” added Johnson.
We asked Pete Chavez about the couple's allegations, and he refuted everything. He said Joyner got $130 cash for a week's worth of work, and that he also paid Johnson.
"She worked a week before and she got paid $200 that Friday. As soon as work is over, she got paid the $200, she got her money,” said Chavez.
Chavez claimed he paid Johnson $300 cash, for two weeks of work-- contradicting his earlier statement. He also told us he pays his workers by the hour; that's not what he advertised on Craigslist.
The couple said they're devastated by the situation.
"I couldn't get the things i needed for my family,” said Joyner.
"We have babies at home. Our son was born with liver disease, so we count on that. We don't have any other income coming in at this time,” said Johnson.
Johnson told us she's not taking this sitting down, and that she will fight to get the money she's owed.
"We have filed the claims with the workforce...a loss of wages claim against him,” stated Johnson.
She added that she hopes her story will serve as a lesson to others.
"I don't want anyone else getting scammed by him. It really devastated us, it really hurt us.”
We did some digging and learned that Chavez has two previous complaints filed against him through the Texas Workforce Commission. Both claims involved him not paying his workers.