Woman claims she lost thousands in home repair scam

Helen Cunningham out of $3,000 after being scammed before Christmas

Author: John Cavazos, Executive producer, jcavazos@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 09:49:42 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 31 2013 11:58:45 PM EST
Home repair scammers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A local woman's 2014 is getting off to a rough start. She says a week before Christmas, she was scammed out of thousands of dollars worth of home repairs she didn't even ask for.

Helen Cunningham said two men showed up in her yard and offered to trim a tree in her yard, and it just snowballed from there.

"I'm just disappointed," Cunningham said. "I'm just hurt and embarrassed for my friends and my family. I needed that money."

Cunningham said the younger of the two men noticed a tree was all over her house and then they insisted on doing the work -- offering to cut off the branches at a dollar a branch.

However, the two men then got up on her roof and told her there were holes that needed to be filled. Then, they sprayed the roof with tar -- at a cost of $4,600.

When Cunningham told them she couldn't afford that, they settled for $3,000 instead and she wrote them a check.

"They intimidated me and I was scared," Cummingham said. "I was shaking."

Cunningham said she knew she had been suckered when her check was cashed not even 30 minutes after the two men left.

"Three-thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose around the holidays," Cunningham said. "It's crazy. I've learned not to trust anybody unless I call them myself and ask them to do the work."

Unfortunately police said the only recourse Cummingham has is to file a small claims lawsuit. Since she willingly wrote them the check, they say there's nothing they can do.

Cunningham said she's going to have to cut back on expenses and likely take out a loan to recoup some of the money she lost.