A Chandler man says he gave a contractor a down payment to start a job and the contractor never came back to do the work.
This is a common complaint against many companies across the Valley and has many consumers wondering what they should do when a contractor asks for money before the work begins.
It can be an uncomfortable situation: You've agreed on a price, the contract is signed and then the contractor asks for a hefty down payment before they can start work.
How much is reasonable, or should you refuse and not agree to a down payment at all?
"We just found him from Craigslist," said Balbir Wadhwa.
Wadhwa says he agreed to pay Joe from J & K Handyman in Apache Junction about $1,000 to build a small kitchenette in his Chandler home. Wadhwa says he signed the contract and as soon as Joe finished prepping the room he made a request.
"You have to give me $400 in advance so I can get the material. And I'm not going to buy from the Home Depot here, I'm going to use the one near to my home, buy the stuff from there, and be here tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.," said Wadhwa.
Wadhwa gave J & K a check for the $400, but Joe was a no-show the next morning. Wadhwa says Joe never showed up again. All he's gotten from Joe are vague text messages about a medical emergency and a number of other excuses. Wadhwa says he left voice messages every day for almost two weeks.
"He turned his phone off. On and off he was responding to emails only and, to today, we have not been able to speak to him on the phone," said Wadhwa.
Tyler Palmer of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors says his agency fields more than 1,000 of these type complaints a year. What's fair? Palmer says 10 percent is the industry standard for down payments.
"It just seems like it's a historical number, it's been in the industry for many years, so is it a good number? Sure. If it's been used for that long I think you can go with that tradition," said Palmer.
Many contractors won't ask for any more than 10 percent, but if you're uncomfortable with even that amount, Palmer says shop around. Get at least three bids for a job. A down payment may not be needed at all.
"Not all contractors require you to do so. Another option is you could go out and buy the materials, go to the Home Depot and buy them, and have the contractor pick them up when they're ready," said Palmer.
Wadhwa has demanded J & K terminate the contract and issue a full refund. He knows now that he never should have put down a 40 percent deposit.
"This is a big lesson learned for us, we are not going to give any deposits, to any contractor, in the future," said Wadhwa.
After I reached out to Joe at J&K Handyman in Apache Junction, he opened up a better dialogue with Wadhwa and refunded half the money. He also agreed to pay back the other $200, but only delivered $150. Wadhwa tells me that J&K deducted $50 for prepping the room.
Bottom line: Try not to pay more than 10 percent as a down payment. If the contractor wants more, offer to buy the material yourself and allow the contractor to pick them up when he/she is ready to start work.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:23:30 GMT
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her. Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 on Friday while she sold lemonadeMore >
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:25 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:25:06 GMT
Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they have been called to Bridgewater to investigate reports that a body has been found in the water.The search is being conductedMore >
Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police said they are responding to reports that a body was found in Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater late Tuesday morning.More >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the Internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated fro the rest of his classmates in a class photo.According to The Province, motherMore >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated from the rest of his classmates in a class photo.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:14 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:14:08 GMT
A Westbrook man was arrested Monday evening after attempting to get people to provide him with an alcohol-free breath sample to bypass his vehicle Ignition Interlock Device. Clinton police said 67-year-oldMore >
A Westbrook man was arrested Monday evening after attempting to get people to provide him with an alcohol-free breath sample to bypass his vehicle Ignition Interlock Device.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 2:53 PM EDT2013-06-18 18:53:17 GMT
A bank teller accused of stealing from the CD accounts of mostly elderly customers has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Michelle Laudato of Farmington pleaded guilty TuesdayMore >
A bank teller accused of stealing from the CD accounts of mostly elderly customers has pleaded guilty to bank fraud.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:22 AM EDT2013-06-18 11:22:43 GMT
A Greenwich middle school teacher accused of threatening to "shoot up" the school has been ordered by a judge to undergo mental health counseling and to stay away from the building. Forty-six-year-oldMore >
A Greenwich middle school teacher accused of threatening to "shoot up" the school has been ordered by a judge to undergo mental health counseling and to stay away from the building.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:54:02 GMT
Police say a man charged with murdering a Connecticut college student threatened to kill her after she tried to break off their relationship shortly before she disappeared in April. Arrest and searchMore >
A Connecticut man charged with murdering his college student girlfriend and dismembering her body had threatened to kill her after she tried to break up with him, according to newly released arrest and search warrant affidavits.More >
Monday, June 17 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 01:59:19 GMT
LYNCHBURG, VA (RNN) – Kimberly Burke is used to capturing emotion. As a wedding photographer, she has an eye for tender moments, like the photo she snapped of a Marine and his bride praying that has goneMore >
A quiet moment captured before a couple wed has brought collective "awws" by millions on the internet.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:41:16 GMT
Happy Saturday, Rain is on its way – as expected – but it will not hamper the entire weekend. Early this morning, there will be low clouds, fog and drizzle in many parts of Connecticut. This will haveMore >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 4:25 PM EDT2013-06-18 20:25:37 GMT
Connecticut State Police said they were assisting Winsted police in investigating a standoff Tuesday morning.The incident was reported in town before 10 a.m.It's unknown what led to the standoff.PoliceMore >
Connecticut State Police said they were assisting Winsted police investigating a suspicious incident in Winchester Tuesday morning.More >