Homeowner loses thousands after contractor takes money, walks away from job

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Scott Glaser just wanted new siding on his Clinton home, but instead he got a contractor who took his money and then took off.

Glaser asked the contractor if he could do siding and the contractor said he could and give Glaser a quote.

"So, we said okay that sounds good. We'll use you and that was when the trouble started," Glaser explained.

Trouble that would cost Scott more than $10,000.

The work statement Scott and the contractor agreed to said the that the contractor would install new siding and decorative pieces around the door and windows.

So with the statement agreed to, Scott paid in full and the contractor began to strip the outside of the house and hang siding.

Then something changed.

"The last day the scaffolding was here. I knew that was the last day he was going to come back," Glaser recalled.

Scott said the contractor stopped and the majority of Scott's home still had no siding.

He was embarrassed and didn't want to be one of "those" neighbors with the ugly house and he was worried since winter was coming fast.

"It's exposed right to the street and it's kind of an eyesore for everyone," Scott said.

As winter approached, the house continued to sit unfinished.

Then silence, Scott said he repeatedly called the contractor.

"I had paid him thousands of dollars for work that he hadn't done and I had no communication with him, so I couldn't possibly read his mind," Scott said. He continued to go on stating that he wondered if the contractor would finish, or even had intentions to finish.

Eventually, Scott had to hire another contractor, but he was still out thousands of dollars.

Scott then called the Better Business Bureau, the organization tried to reach the contractor but heard nothing.

This is an all to familiar story for Melanie McGovern of the BBB.

She explained to CNYCentral that the majority of complaints are about contractors.

"We always say that the rule is a third, a third, a third. You give the contractor a third of the cost up front, a third when they're at the halfway point and a third when they're finished," McGovern said.

Scott eventually took the contractor to small claims court, but the contractor didn't show.

"When I think about it my blood boils. It just makes me very angry and very disappointed. I felt we had a good relationship. I feel super betrayed," Scott said.

As of now, Scott did win a default settlement in a small claims court, but says he still hasn't seen any of his money.

So what do you need to know if you need to hire a contractor?

Here's some tips we found for you:

  • The number one rule, do your homework. Make sure the contractor has a physical street address, has all of their licensing in order, proper insurance and that it's been in business for a while.
  • You can check the contractor's site for ratings and reviews or one of the many other review sites.
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