Families looking to fix up their homes were left stranded after the home improvement contractor they hired, abruptly went bankrupt.
Eyewitness News heard from several families who say they were never reimbursed for jobs that were never completed.
The contractor is already on the state’s radar.
Even though several complaints have been filed, Richard Herms and his company R.H. Builders have more than 20 years of experience so the victims say they had no reason to not trust that the jobs wouldn't get done.
However, now they’re fighting to get their money back.
“This has certainly been a lesson learned,” said Diane Walczak, of Bristol, who just wanted to get her kitchen floors replaced and a new paint job for her windows.
She hired Richard Herms to do the job.
“The quote was for $1800,” Walczak said.
The contract was signed nearly a year ago on April 13, and she paid $1,000 up front.
The work was supposed to begin on the 25th, but she says excuses started instead.
“The Southington town inspector was taking too long, so he pushed me off a week. Then it was another project that was too big and he didn't have enough employees, so he pushed me back a week,” Walczak said.
Walczak and Herms would go back and forth via text message for months, with Herms always pushing the start date back.
She says it would be July before anyone from R.H. Builders would come to her home, and when they did, Walczak says they only worked on the windows.
“When he was scraping, he broke off some of the wood,” Walczak said.
After that, Walczak told Herms she didn't want him to do the job and wanted her money back. Their last communication was in September, where he said “please be patient, I am working things out and going to make things right for everyone. I am sincerely sorry about all of these delays."
Months later, Walczak said “I don't know where we stand. There has not been any contact since the end of September.”
Herms told Eyewitness News that his business went bankrupt seven months ago and he admits to leaving some jobs open.
He said he was forced into it due to personal struggles and health issues.
Herms stressed that was not his intention and feels horribly for leaving customers stranded.
The Department of Consumer Protection has also gotten involved.
Herms says the state will reimburse victims through the guaranty fund, and he will need to repay the state, but he wouldn't disclose the amount.
For those still waiting for their money, they just want this to be a cautionary tale.
“I don't want anyone being taken advantage of the way I was,” Walczak said.
The state says make sure you do your research and make sure the people hired are licensed to do the job.
As for Herms, he says he is now working in repair as an employee, not a business owner and has no intention to start up again.
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To file a complaint, email email@example.com or call (860)713-6100.
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