Left in the lurch: Contractor starts job, disappears

A Wichita woman hired a contractor but he never finished the job. She said she found him through a site that claims it vets contractors it uses.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A contractor, hired to re-side a Wichita home, starts the job but never finishes. It’s a story Factfinder 12 has heard more than once, but the woman who hired this contractor says she used a service that is supposed to vet the contractors they use.

Even at a time when do it yourself is all the rage, sometimes hiring someone to do it for you is just a lot easier. Especially for a big job, according to homeowner Debra Brock. She noticed some rotting wood on the side of her home.

“I was noticing some rotting on the side of my window,” Brock said. “I called Angie’s List to have it repaired. Angie’s List sent about three contractors out.”

Angie’s List connects home service professionals with people who need work done. They changed their name a while back to just Angi.

One of the contractors sent by Angi to Debra’s home suggested she put new siding on her entire home. He quoted her a price and she accepted.

“I paid him a $9,200 deposit initially to get everything done, and then that was all I needed to pay him until the finished job,” Brock explained. “He said that when they get the materials in for the siding, he would do it two weeks straight and get it complete.”

Factfinder 12 checked with Angi and confirmed Brock used their service to find contractors to fix the rotten wood on the side of her home in April of 2022, but Brock says the work was not completed by the agreed upon time.

“He would do a little bit...little bit, well now it’s July, you know. He told me it would take two weeks,” she said.

In July, the contractor stopped work on Debra’s house altogether, leaving the job unfinished after she paid him close to $15,000.

“Not only did he not finish the work, but the work that he did, some of it’s dangerous,” she added.

Debra says a deck the contractor rebuilt isn’t properly supported, work on the siding is subpar and that the contractor ceased all communication with her.

Factfinder 12 spoke with and interviewed the contractor involved in this story. He admits he walked off the job but did offer to finish it. The problem is he and Debra couldn’t agree on the amount of money he’s owed, if any. Because the contractor says one thing and Debra Brock says another, we’ve chosen not to name the contractor or his company.

A spokesperson for Angi tells Factfinder 12 the contractor sent was selected for the original smaller repair job saying, “We always recommend homeowners do their due-diligence before expanding the scope of a project with a pro.” Which is what Denise Groene with the Better Business Bureau suggests as well.

“It’s so easy to hop online, do a quick Google search. You can go to bbb.org,” Groene said. “You can get a variety of information from a variety of platforms about a contractor before you sign any sort of contract or give them any money.”

Talking to just one contractor isn’t enough. Once you decide what you want done, Groene says to get a few estimates.

“Make sure that the price they’re quoting is in line with the competition so you don’t feel like you overpaid or underpaid and got a substandard job,” she said.

The work on Debra Brock’s house is finally finished. The contractor she’d originally hired admitted to Factfinder 12 that he’d walked off the job, but that he’d come and finish the job or pay another professional to complete it. He did neither of those things. Brock paid someone else to finish it. Angi tells Factfinder 12 that based on our investigation, they’ve removed the original contractor from their site and no longer send him on jobs.