MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - A Mechanicsville family hired a contractor to build them a six-foot privacy fence. A year later, that $5,500 fence was leaning over with gaping holes, so the Dalbey family called 12 On Your Side for help - and this is why you should always check out a contractor's background before handing over your cash.
On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker found out that the contractor has not fulfilled his promise. He did show up a few times at the Dalbey home, but the project remains unfinished and the family isn't happy with that. The contractor has maintained he will take care of it.
Considering all the rain we've had, NBC12 allowed nearly five weeks to pass before checking up with unlicensed contractor Wayne Doggitt of A.E.I. Installations Inc.
Back in May, Doggitt told NBC12 to meet him in the parking lot of one of his current jobs: AMF in Hanover. There, Doggitt promised to fix the wobbly fence.
"It's leaning, then it's not a six-foot privacy fence. They paid for a six-foot and that's what they're going to get," said Doggitt.
NBC12 asked: "You're going to take care of it?"
"Absolutely," he replied.
Five weeks later, we learned the truth about one of his so called jobs. The manager at AMF Hanover says Doggitt doesn't work for them. It appears when we met him in the parking lot, at one of his purported jobs, he was actually inside the bowling alley socializing.
Diane Walker called to ask him about that and left a message. So far, he hasn't responded.
Mary Broz-Vaughan is the Deputy Director of Communications with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). She encourages consumers to find out whether the contractor has a valid license first.
"Unlicensed contracting is a criminal misdemeanor, and so recourse in that sense is going to be pursing criminal charges for unlicensed contracting, and of course that's up to local prosecutors and law enforcement," said Broz-Vaughan.
DPOR, also referred to as the State Board of Contractors, explained what recourse homeowner Edward Dalbey may have to get his $5,500.00 fence repaired. She says this very incident is why it's best to only deal with licensed contractors.
"Should something go wrong, you have a place to complain to. You have an avenue for some recourse. While we can't make a contractor refund money necessarily, we can ensure that you are at least eligible for the recovery fund in the event of major fraud," said Broz-Vaughan.
Doggitt returned twice to his clients home and even performed some work, but the family is frustrated and considering legal action in civil court. They say this has dragged on far too long. They have been waiting since last year to repair the problems.
Broz-Vaughan says had they hired a licensed contractor, they would have benefited from a contractor who met state licensing requirements.
"We're going to test you to make sure that you do," said Broz-Vaughan. "You are going to have some pre-license education to make sure that you learn those necessary requirements for your field."
The take away - contact DPOR to run a license check before you hire a contractor. You can reach DPOR at (804) 367-8511.
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