LORAIN, Ohio — A Lorain mother had problems with not one but two contractors. She thought her money had just gone down the drain until she contacted News 5 Investigators.
“This is where the bathroom should be,” said Angel Cannon, 34. She wanted a finished bathroom in the basement of her newly built house. “When you work so hard to get something, you want all the pieces to fit into the puzzle perfectly,” she told us.
SHE HIRED TWO DIFFERENT CONTRACTORS
She hired a person she knows well, but he made mistakes. So, her grandparents suggested a friend. Cannon paid him a $1,000 cash down payment, but no formal, written contract was signed. He put in the base of the shower, hung some drywall, and framed the door.
“So, I’m feeling confident, and then all of a sudden, he just stopped coming,” said Cannon.
In her garage, there are all kinds of things that should have been installed by now, like drywall, a shower wall set, insulation, and a toilet. Because of that, Cannon said she can’t use the garage in her brand new home.
“It’s frustrating, it’s overwhelming and it’s stressful because it’s like, what do you do next?” said Cannon.
What she did was call News 5 Investigators. We were able to contact the most recent contractor and his response is below, but first, here's some advice from a business expert.
ADVICE FOR YOUR PROJECTS
“You have to have some protection,” said Ericka Dilworth, the Director of Operations of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland. “Anything that is important to you needs to be in writing. If it’s important that the project take two weeks, then that’s what needs to be on the contract. If it’s important that the contractor’s going to buy the material, and what the payment arrangements are, the scope of the work, all of that needs to be in writing.”
Dilworth also told us if you’re currently in line to have some work done in your home, be ready for problems with worker shortages.
“Life is a little different right now. Life is a little more complicated right now,” said Dilworth. “And we are hearing every day that contractors are having a difficult time finding laborers.”
Plus, there are issues with the supply chain.
“It’s hard to find car parts. It’s hard to find specific building materials. It’s just hard to find stuff,” she warned.
After we talked to Cannon’s contractor, he told us he would be out to finish the job, and sure enough, he did show up the next week and start the work once again.
'DO YOUR RESEARCH, YOUR DIGGING'
Cannon, as a single mother, made sacrifices along the way to get her home.
“Last year I had to sit my kids down and I told them like, ‘Hey, Christmas isn’t going to be what you guys are used to this year because we have bigger goals,” Cannon told us.
She wanted to warn our viewers about her experience so they don’t sacrifice their projects.
“I want people to beware," Cannon said. "Do your research. Do your digging when it comes to hiring these contractors.”
Keep in mind, the BBB recommends paying with a credit card and only offering a third of the total cost for an upfront payment. Plus, be sure to find out if the contractor is allowed to work in your city.
If you think News 5 can help you as we did with Cannon, contact our investigators at InvestigatorTips@WEWS.com.