JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The owner of Pet Rescue North in Jacksonville is out thousands of dollars for a new HVAC her contractor never installed. Peggy Haynes said she has been running the shelter for more than 30 years and has cared for thousands of dogs and cats.
“This is where the unit was supposed to go,” said Haynes.
She said Affordable and Reliable Mechanic, Inc. was supposed to install a new air conditioning/heating unit in one of her kennels. She said she paid the contractor, Richard Parnell, $4,525.
“People said I shouldn’t have given him the money first,” Haynes said. “I trusted the man after 20 some years.”
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Haynes filed a police report with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She also wrote and sent a certified demand letter to Parnell per Florida statute 489.126 which states that a contractor has to “apply for permits necessary to do work within 30 days” and start “the work within 90 days” because Parnell received more than “10 percent” of the money upfront.
Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said, “Under this statute, it becomes a criminal matter. There’s no requirement to give any money in advance.” His advice is to make sure to use a credit card so you can dispute any charges.
The Better Business Bureau told us in 2022, they received 71,897 complaints against construction-related businesses. Seven-hundred forty-three of them were in Northeast Florida.
“If he never gives me back the money,” Haynes said, “I would love to see him in jail.”
Action News Jax’s Ben Becker asked the State Attorney’s Office if and when charges will be filed. They replied stating, “Law enforcement initially deemed this a civil issue. A subsequent review by the State was unable to uncover evidence that currently supports a criminal charge at this time.” That’s because there wasn’t a signed contract.
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Our Action News Jax Investigators went to Parnell’s listed address and saw his truck there. No one came to the door and his roommate tried to close the door on the matter by shutting the garage door.
I contacted Snyder Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electric. They came out and donated equipment and their time to get the shelter properly cooled and heated.
When the work was completed, Haynes emailed saying, “Thank you so very much. Our unit was installed this morning. Our dogs will be toasty this weekend. You are absolutely awesome!”