(WWBT) - Think your hired the wrong repairman? What do you do, if the contractor you paid to fix your riding lawn mower has both your money and your mower and keeps making promises to deliver it, but doesn't?
A Colonial Heights man called 12 for help, following four months of back-and-forth with the repairman he hired. NBC12 On Your Side helped him get his mower back.
There are ways you can fight back, if something similar happens to you. First, never pay for the entire job up front. Don't pay 100 percent of the bill until 100 percent of the work is done. The State Board of Contractors recommends 10-percent down for any job.
What happened in this case could happen to any of us. Bland Gardner says he hired a repairman he never had any problems with - until this past December.
Weeks of promises to return his yard machine turned into months. He says he did everything in his power - including calling and talking to company owner Tony Roberts every few weeks - only to be told "it would be returned soon."
"He's starting to make me mad," said Gardner. "I'm out of my money and my lawn mower. The lawn mower got sentimental value, because it was my grandmother's lawn mower. That's all I want. I want my lawn mower back running. No hard feelings. I just want my lawn mower to be able to start up. It's what I paid him to do."
NBC12 spoke with Roberts, and he returned the mower. He says there was no malicious intent on his part - personal tragedies impacted his work, and he told us that some of what happened is his fault.
To protect yourself, never let your payments get ahead of the work. If the work is delayed, your payments should also be delayed. Otherwise, there's no incentive to finish the job if the bill is paid in full.
Also, get details of the work in writing - including start and finish dates. Make sure the contractor is properly licensed with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
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