JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local family called Action News Jax claiming they are out thousands of dollars after a contractor refused to return their deposit.
Daniel and Alexandra Rudd love their new home, but say their path to having patio pavers installed was plagued with problems.
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“It has just been a big old headache,” Alexandra Rudd told Action News Jax Ben Becker.
The Rudds told Becker they hired Amado Angel Rivera , who owns a company called Beyond Pavers and Lighting. He gave them an estimate of about $7,000 and the Rudd’s gave him a deposit check for $3,500.
But the couple started to worry when they saw Rivera was measuring the property – with his feet.
“You gave him the money, saw some red flags, you started doing reviews? ” asked Becker. “Yeah, we felt uncomfortable,” said Daniel Rudd.
Those reviews include an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau, so the Rudds asked for their money back, but Rivera refused.
The Rudds showed Becker text messages they exchanged with Rivera, where he claimed to have already purchased the materials and would have to pay a 25% return fee. The Rudds asked for a receipt, but Rivera hasn't provided it.
Becker went to work to get answers for the Rudds by first visiting Rivera’s listed address, but no one answered.
Becker later texted Rivera to get his side of the story, but he sent Becker three warnings not to contact him, saying he was falsely accused.
A few days later, Becker went back to again, get Rivera’s side but the contractor sped off in a pickup truck without answering any questions.
Becker searched Rivera’s background and found he was arrested in September 2017 for false representation and advertising as a contractor. Rivera was accused of accepting a deposit of more than $8,000 on a $16,000 and not performing any work.
The state attorney's office told Becker charges against Rivera were dropped in May 2019, after he agreed to pay back some of the money - $5,867.
Two months later, Rivera was hired by the Rudds.
“Do your research, be patient, don't put a deposit down,” Alexandra Rudd said when asked what her advice is for other homeowners.
Experts say one way you may not think of when researching a contract is to check court records where you can find arrests or civil actions.
After Becker brought the Rudds' case to the attention of the state attorney's office, he was told an investigator will look into it.
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