Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A local couple has a warning for homeowners looking for contractors offering to perform repair work. They say Talbot Contracting swindled them out of thousands of dollars after promising repairs that were left unfinished.
“This guy shows up and takes advantage of people …not weak people or elderly people…but people who are with it,” said Gordon Bruce, who alleges that Talbot Construction ripped him off.
Bruce and Laura Fudge never thought it would happen to them. Months ago, they scheduled a much needed home repair job with a seemingly reputable contractor named Brad Talbot.
But they say what was supposed to be a fix-up turned out to be a fraud. They were left with a mess in their home and $2,000 in the hole.
“We gave him the $2,000 down and less than a week after that he came with a young guy and did some digging up and jack hammering near the sidewalk over the period of an hour-and-a-half and then he left,” Bruce said.
Bruce says Talbot never returned to the job.
Talbot did do a few small jobs around their house that they were pleased with, but they say he violated their written contract for the big job that cost nearly $3,000 to complete. And they couldn’t get any answers about their money, until one day when Talbot reached out to them.
“He called and said, ‘Turn me in or should I turn myself in.’ We said, ‘We just want our money back, even if you have to pay me $5 a week forever, or come and finish the job.’ He said, 'The money’s gone and I’m not going to finish the job,'” Fudge said.
The Fudges are now trying to warn other people. They claim Talbot tells homeowners that he’s worked on their neighbor’s house and those homeowners were pleased with it. He then convinces them to let him work on their home.
“We've had two neighbors on this block who have had this done to them and people work hard for their money as you know…and these scoundrels shouldn't be preying on people,” Bruce said.
Another person talked to NewsChannel 9 off camera. He says he lost about $7,000 after working with Talbot Construction.
Talbot says if he’s wrong, he will pay, but that the matter should be handled in the courtroom.
Bruce has contacted the Attorney General’s office. The AG wants to hear from people who have had issues with contractors. They can be reached at 448-4848.
They say Consumers should take the following proactive steps when hiring home improvement contractors:
- Be specific about what work you want done
- Educate yourself about the required permits - don't rely solely on the contractor
- Shop around
- Get references and check them
- Get proof of insurance from the contractor
- Check licenses (if required)
- Never pay the full price upfront
- Always put work to be done in writing
- Know where your payments are going
- Never do business with a contractor who is unwilling to abide by any of the conditions above