Fencing Contractor Takes Deposit and Never Returns - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Fencing Contractor Takes Deposit and Never Returns

NBC 5 Responds recommends checking reviews and the Better Business Bureau before hiring a contractor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fencing Contractor Takes Deposit and Never Returns

    If contractor asks for payment up-front, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. (Published Wednesday, July 25, 2018)

    There's a lot of energy and a lot of love in Shelley Underwood's yard full of puppies.

    Rusty, a rescue, is the explorer who kept breaking through their fence to go check out the neighborhood.

    "It was very necessary for us to have a safe fence and the fence we had was not safe," Underwood said.

    Underwood got three quotes for a fence before she decided on RCS Fencing. She told us owner Ricky Shinn promised to get to work immediately.

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    "The original cost of the fence was $4,864, so we gave him half the money up-front so he could buy the fencing and the stain," Underwood said.

    The day the work was to begin Shinn never showed up, but sent a text that said his truck broke down and he'd be there the next day.

    The next day, another text that said the supplies wouldn't be ready for yet another day.

    But he never showed up and then stopped answering Underwood's calls and texts, so she called NBC 5 Responds.

    "I watch channel 5 and I see the news reports and that's how I knew about you guys," Underwood said.

    Ricky's wife answered the number for RCS Fencing. She said it was her cell on his business cards, but they're separated and she had nothing to do with the business. She called Ricky and told him we wanted some answers.

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    Shinn didn't call us, but he did call Underwood.

    "He asked me to give him three weeks to pay me, that somebody he trusted stole the money from him," Underwood said.

    We waited, but Shelley's dogs were in danger of getting out so she hired someone else to come and build the fence she already paid RCS to put up.

    "My dogs are extremely important to me. They're my children. I love them very much and if anything was to happen to my dogs I'd be devastated," she said.

    She had to come up with the money all over again.

    Meanwhile, NBC 5 Responds kept trying to get Shinn to give us an update on Underwood's refund. We called, and emailed and never heard back.

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    RCS Fencing has no listing with the Better Business Bureau and few reviews online. Underwood doesn't have much hope she'’ll hear from him again. She's worked several hours of overtime trying to rebuild her savings.

    "I just want other people to know not to hire this guy," Underwood said. "He could possibly take your money too."

    At this point, Underwood's only answer is to file a lawsuit against Shinn to get her money back. There were some warning signs with this company -- not having many reviews or a Better Business Bureau listing doesn't give consumers much to go on.

    If a company wants money up front for materials, ask if you can go with the contractor and pay for the materials yourself. Use a credit card, which can give you more protection -- and at least you'll have the materials if something goes wrong.

    Sometimes a contractor will want to get the materials themselves because they make more profit from charging you for materials. You could offer to pay a slightly higher price for the service, but still purchase the materials on your own.

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