FF12: Family fighting to remove mobile home from property

ANDOVER, Kan. (KWCH) UPDATE: A Kansas family is relieved after Factfinder 12 stepped in to help get a mobile home off their former property.

Beth Hammond contacted Factfinder 12 about a man her brother-in-law hired to remove the mobile home from a lot they sold along Andover Road. A check proves the family paid Bruce Troutman to remove the mobile home in May. They expected it to be gone in a week or two. More than a month later, the mobile home was still there. That's when Factfinder 12 started making calls.

We were there Thursday when Troutman showed up to the property and agreed to an interview.

"I'm deeply sorry for this inconvenience. I try to run a legit business and I ain't out here to screw nobody over," said Troutman.

Troutman blames the delay entirely on the towing company he hired and the wet weather. He says there's nothing he could have done differently.

Julie Scott is one of several people who contacted Factfinder 12 after seeing our initial story on the mobile home issue. She says Troutman was hired to move a mobile home off her property in 2017.

"Through various phone calls and various delays he finally did move it about three or four months later. Our big concern was the mess he left for us which he guaranteed he would clean up," said Scott.

Scott says they called and texted Troutman for six months trying to get him to finish the job.

"Lots of promises that it will be next week, we'll have it out by this date and it never happened. Then eventually, he quit answering our texts and calls," said Scott.

We asked Troutman about the other complaints we received. He denied knowing anything about them.

"Sometimes jobs take longer than others," said Troutman.

The towing company showed up shortly after Troutman Thursday to remove the mobile home.
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Beth Hammond says she's at wits' end following a months-long battle with a man hired to remove a mobile home from her former property in Andover.

"I'm worried that mobile home is never going to get moved," said Hammond.

Hammond and her husband sold the property near Andover Road and 13th Street months ago. The new owners asked them to remove the mobile home from the property. Hammond says her brother-in-law, Terry Bishop offered to help them for financial reasons. Bishop hired a man named Bruce Troutman to get the job done.

Bishop sent FactFinder12 a photo of a check confirming he paid Troutman $1,750 on May 15 for "trailer removal." More than a month later the mobile home hasn't moved. That's why Hammond decided to contact FactFinder12 for help.

"I would like to say you were hired to do a job, you need to get it done. Or you need to pay back the money to the person that hired you," said Hammond.

Bishop says Troutman told him several times the ground was too wet to move the mobile home, or the trailer was missing a piece that needed to be replaced before it could be moved. Troutman gave us the same reasons when we called him multiple times but said he would have the mobile home removed by Wednesday.

The family says they've considered hiring an attorney but no one ever signed a contract.

"It really is best to have everything documented and written down," said Denise Groene with the Better Business Bureau.

Groene says any time you hire someone to do work on your home or property make sure a written contract is part of the agreement.

"That contract should outline the scope of work that's going to be performed. It should reference payment information. Anything that the business tells you verbally you should also have that written down in a contract," said Groene.

Groene also recommends withholding payment until the job is complete. She says without a contract, a case like this is just a "he said - she said" situation in court.

"Ultimately, a judge is going to make a decision based on the facts that both parties have interpreted," said Groene.

Hammond says if the mobile home isn't moved, she fears the new property owner will start charging them for keeping it there.

"Both of us combined barely can keep our head above water and pay our bills. If we have another cost on top of that I don't know how we'll do it."

FactFinder12 last spoke with Troutman Wednesday afternoon. At that time, he said he planned to have the mobile home removed by the end of the day. As of 6 p.m., the mobile home was still on the lot.