Petersburg woman fighting money battle with contractor

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - In Sept. 2007, Henrietta Dixon, 73, decided her home needed some major work to her Petersburg home.

Dixon did her homework. She interviewed several contractors before choosing Carl Coleman of Coleman Home Improvement in Prince George County.

The pair signed a contract. Coleman requested a $4,500 payment upfront. Dixon took out a loan to cover the cost.

Coleman was supposed to start repairs on her home in October, but that did not happen.

Dixon says Coleman called her and said he had a home invasion and requested to start another day.

Dixon says days went by and Coleman never showed up. She fired him and asked for her money back.

When she didn't get it she took Coleman to court in June 2008 and won. Seven months later, Dixon says she hasn't gotten a dime from the company.

"I've just been waitin," Dixon said. "I'm still paying on that loan, my house is still not repaired."

NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin says the best way to get money in cases like this is to go after the party's assets.

"Collecting on  a judgment means finding the property that's owned by the person and collecting on that," Benjamin said. That's often done with the help of a lawyer.

"If they don't have a job, you can't do anything about their wages," Benjamin said. "If they don't have assets or anything of value, you're out of luck."

Henritta has an attorney and says she won't stop fighting until Coleman's home improvement pays her what she's owed.

To avoid a similar situation, experts suggest using a contractor who allows payment when the work is done or payment in stages as work is completed.

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