A disabled woman says she was ripped off by a local contractor. She now wants to warn others to be careful about whom they trust. We found some of the work this contractor does is certified by the State of Kansas.
Lakelia Hughes suffers from ALS and is confined to a bed. Her home is nearly all she has, so she hired a contractor to help it look nicer. She says she hired Tina Bland, a woman from her church, to install laminate flooring in one small bedroom. Hughes says she paid Bland $250 and assumed the job was done right. Since Hughes is not able to leave her bed, she was unable to see the work. When a relative showed her what was done, she couldn’t believe it. When Eyewitness News saw it, we immediately noticed the quarter round still had stickers attached, the corners didn’t meet properly, the edges around the closet were poorly cut and some spots weren’t even done.
"If I was up and able to get in there and look at that there was no way she would have gotten her money,” said Hughes.
It’s been a month and Hughes says she’s tried several times to get Bland to come back and finish the job correctly. We also tried to call Bland. She told us Hughes could speak with her attorney and quickly hung up on us. We called again and left a voicemail message. Bland never returned our call.
We discovered Bland is not only a licensed contractor, but she and her partner are listed as “certified renovators” by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. KDHE tells us Bland’s company, S&T Construction, is certified by the state for lead paint removal. KDHE officials tell us that’s not necessarily an endorsement of general contracting work.
“I trusted her. I took her word for it.”
So how do you find a credible contractor? Many times elderly or disabled consumers are the biggest targets for companies looking to take advantage.
We talked with Cindi Unruh with the Independent Living Resource Center. ILRC has a list of six contractors in the area that have done good work over the past 30 years and that have met ADA requirements. Through a bidding process, ILRC helps consumers get the best quality of work done for home modifications or handicap accessible ramps.
"If they would like us to take a look at what area is needs - the modification done or a ramp built, we can go out and look,” said Unruh. “We then go back and give them the list of contractors and recommend the ones that we have worked with in the past that we know do good work."