Protecting your cash when looking for the right contractor

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - James Hicks did a little to protect his money, but not enough. He relied solely on the word of a friend who was pleased with contractor Clayton Duty's work.

"Right now I'm out $5100," said Hicks.

Hicks hired the heating and air conditioning contractor to replace the unit's compressor and switch out his home's electrical system.

"No it's not working," he said. "He was suppose to upgrade it to take 200 amps and change it from fuses to breakers."

Hicks says the contractor worked on his air conditioner but never upgraded the home's electrical system.

Still, Hicks paid the contractor in full $6,100 before he completed the work, and before making sure it was done properly. He had no reason for distrust, he says, because his friend had a good experience with Clayton Duty of Affordable Heating and Air.

"His heating system went off and it was like Christmas Eve, snowing and he repaired it so, I didn't do my usual background checks for the company because I was basically going on his prior work," Hicks explained.

The homeowner says he got a thousand dollars back from Duty before he stopped communicating.

"We went to his bank to have the money refunded to me. His account was at the point where he could only get a certain amount that day and he was suppose to bring me the balance the next day," said Hicks.

NBC12 reached out to Clayton Duty but got no response. Our search revealed he's not licensed with the state board of contractors. So when James reported him to the Better Business Bureau, and the contractor answered the complaint, his response meant nothing.

"He stated that he would come out and repair it but like they found out afterwards, he's not licensed so he can't complete the work that he actually did the contract for," said Hicks.

Clayton Duty is due in court in January on a different complaint.

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