Fulton Couple Feels Conned By Contractor

8 years 7 months 4 hours ago Monday, November 15 2010 Nov 15, 2010 Monday, November 15, 2010 7:55:56 PM CST November 15, 2010 in News
FULTON - Call it a contractor dispute. One Fulton couple claims a man hired to fix their house walked off the job and took their money instead. However, that "handyman" says he was fired. Kara and Kevin Yancey are first time homeowners. They picked an 80-year-old home in Fulton because they wanted "something that has character." The couple refinanced earlier this year with a 203k rehabilitation loan with the intention of improving the value of their fixer-upper. "We agreed with the bank to have this done properly so that it would appraise at what they expected it to. That was on our contract, so we needed things to be done the right way," said Kara Yancey.

The Yancey's envisioned a new front porch and fence, a remodeled bathroom, new kitchen counter tops and a new fireplace.  The bank recommended one contractor, but the Yancey's say that bid was around $9,000 just for some of outside work.

They began searching on their own and found an ad for "Your Right Hand Man" out of Holts Summit.  "He had a website, the portfolio, business cards, everything.  There was no reason, no warning signs, no red flags," said Kevin Yancey.

"Right Hand Man" owner John Welch agreed to do the entire job for $11,000.  The Yancey's say their mortgage contract required them to give Yancey half the amount up front for supplies.

After paying Welch, roughly $5,600, the Yancey's say Welch began working on the bathroom project, replacing a tub and toilet and putting up bead board.  That's when they say the disagreements began.

"It was not installed properly, so there was no way it was going to turn out the right way," said Kara Yancey.

Welch, however, says the Yancey's insisted he perform work a certain way that wasn't up to his standards.  He says the couple kept changing their minds, made unrealistic demands in a short period of time based on the budget, and were generally impossible to work for.

"I wasn't able to do my job the way it needed to be done," Welch said.  Everything was half this, half that...When I needed to do something, it was going around the bush.  Do it this way because it's gonna be cheaper.  Go around the bush, and I had to stop."

After less than a week, the Yancey's say they were forced to hire an attorney to contact Welch.  The response, "He refused to come back and finish the work.  He refused to give the money back."

Welch says it was the other way around.  "I get a phone call...answer the pone.  'You're fired.  don't come back to my house.  I want my money back, a full refund.'"

Both parties signed a contract stating, "The services provided will meet the standards of the customers and will for the next 365 days, or it will be corrected by our company....This does not include services added after the agreement."

Welch says the Yancey's broke that contract when they told him not to come back.  "We need work.  Everybody needs work, so I hung in there, done everything I could.  I was trying to please these people."

The Yancey's aren't the firs homeowners to have problems with "Your Right Hand Man."  Since May, the Attorney General's office has received three complaints against the Holts Summit business.  One has been resolved successfully.

"We look at these things on a case by case basis," said Attorney General Chris Koster.  "Sometimes 10 or 11 complaints won't necessarily yield an investigation, but one complaint may be of a nature that does not cause us to go out and put investigators in the field."

"We felt conned really," said Kevin Yancey.  "We think that when he came here the first time, he knew what he was gonna do."

"My company's not based on running and getting your money," said Welch.  My company's based on very little money actually.  We work very reasonably...and we do quality work."

The Yancey's say the bank requires the work on their house to be finished in six months or they risk losing the loan.  They now have three months to finish the job.



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