Columbia Man Lost Thousands in Unfinished Deck Project

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COLUMBIA - A 20-year Columbia resident and retired civil servant is out thousands of dollars after a contractor failed to finish a deck project.

"We are out of money and a lot of time," Chuck Issacson said.

Chuck and Pamela Issacson wanted to redo their outdoor deck by adding a screened-in porch and roof for protection from insects. The couple signed a contract with Switzer Construction in late January of 2013 and wrote a check for $3,800, paying half the full cost of the project.

Issacson said the company said it planned to begin work in mid to late March, but didn't make an appearance until late May. When workers did arrive, Issacson said there was little work done and he didn't see the crews for another week.

"They finished a couple pier holes, then we didn't see them again for a week, then a crew brought some concrete in to make the piers," Issacson said. "So they were there three or four hours that day and said ‘We'll see you tomorrow' and never showed up."

After what he called several months of unanswered emails and phone calls to Switzer construction. Issacson decided to take legal action in July. The couple's lawyer sent a letter requesting a termination of the contract because of non-performance and a $2,000 refund.

"That's being generous. You see here only two piers have been poured, a little bit of lumber and the 6 x 6s. There's no roof," Issacson said. "There's nothing else that's been done. I think we are being generous.

Switzer Construction has not responded to Issacson's letter or request for a refund. The Better Business Bureau reports at least four other people in the mid-Missouri area who paid more than $3,000 for unfinished projects with the company. The Better Business Bureau suspended Switzer Construction's accreditation after it failed to respond to customer complaints.

KOMU 8 News called Switzer Construction to get its side of the story, but no one answered or responded to the messages.

To avoid contractor issues like this, the Better Business Bureau recommends
• Paying for the project in increments throughout the project
• Asking for references and calling them
• Asking to see contractor licenses