Send Ben: Retirees threatened with lien on home after contractor doesn’t pay supplier

Send Ben: Fight over a fence

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — John and Barbara Coker moved from Texas to Green Cove Springs to retire last summer, but things haven’t been relaxing.

Barbara signed a contract in August 2019 to pay Affordable Fencing $4100 to install a fence. But in January, a different company, R. Champ Fencing, sent a letter to the Cokers claiming “has yet to receive payment for the fencing materials” from Affordable Fencing to the tune of more than $3,000. The letter threatened to slap a mechanic’s lien on the Cokers’ property.

Action News Jax reporter Ben Becker spoke to R. Champ Fencing owner Randall Champ.

Content Continues Below

“I’m not trying to do no wrong to nobody. Trying to receive my money,” Champ said.

The Cokers had paid Affordable Fencing, but Affordable didn’t pay its supplier, R. Champ Fencing.

Affordable Fencing also failed to pull a permit, which is required when building a fence. President of the Professional Women in Building Council Joyce Conway said the company also failed to file a notice of commencement, which allows a contractor or supplier to lien a customer’s property.

Ben Becker asked Affordable Fencing owner Marty Snyder about the Cokers’ lien on their property and Snyder said he would make it right.

A week later, Becker got an email from R. Champ Fencing thanking him. Affordable Fencing had agreed to pay for the Cokers’ job, as well as two others, worth more than $5700.

As for the Cokers, they’re happy too, and no longer feel fenced in.

“You don’t retire to have problems, you retire to have the easy life,” Coker said.

Conway said to protect yourself from similar scams, make sure the contractor follows the rules in your area and get lien releases to protect you from litigation.