JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Arlington grandmother contacted the I-TEAM for help after she says she paid to have a fence installed, but months later, the work still hasn't been done.
Yvette Perkins said she gave Keith Wright, the owner of Wright Fencing, $800 as a deposit to install a fence on either side of her home.
"It was a good deal," she said.
She still has the contract Wright gave her, quoting $2,000 for the entire job.
Perkins said Wright told her he needed the $800 to buy the supplies, and when he failed to show up to start the work, she called him. According to Perkins, Wright told her his mother had died and it would be a few more days before he could return.
When days passed, Perkins took a closer look at the supplies.
"All the pieces were old and looked like he took it from someone else's house," she said. "It had holes and it was cracked."
When she tried calling him again, the number she had for him had been disconnected.
The I-TEAM went to the address Wright listed as a business address, but found it is not a business at all, but a home on the Northside of Jacksonville. No one answered when we knocked. A neighbor told us Wright had recently moved out.
When we emailed him requesting comment, he responded in part, "...There was a problem with getting all the material. I got sold old material."
However, Wright would not tell us where he purchased the material. He also told us he never pulled a permit to install the fence, which city code requires.
Wright also wrote in his email that while he was waiting to receive new material, someone, "...Sent a threatening message to do bodily harm."
It appears that message was sent two months after Wright was paid by Perkins to install her fence. Perkins said neither she nor anyone in her family, threatened Wright.
Wright never apologized in his email, but did write, he was, "...in a bad spot in his life and I plan on paying her back, don't know when."
Perkins said she will have to start all over now. She's on disability and is struggling to recover after a death in the family. The unfinished fence, is a painful reminder to her of what happened. She hopes no one else falls victim to Keith Wright.
By far, these kinds of complaints involving work paid for, but not completed, are the most common calls and emails received by the I-TEAM.
To help protect yourself, you should keep the following in mind:
- If a deal sounds too good to be true, like in Perkins' case, then it probably is.
- If a business is not solvent enough to afford to pay for the supplies upfront, then there is likely something wrong.
- You should not pay any money upfront.
- Most home improvement projects require a city permit. If someone you hired has not pulled one, it is a sign he/she may not intend to actually complete the work.
- You can also learn a lot about a person or business by searching his/her name or the company name online.
- Businesses are required to be licensed within the state, you can check by searching: myfloridalicense.com.