A North Texas man is warning consumers to avoid a local granite company, accusing the business of taking money and running.
Micheal Williams admits his kitchen looks a bit bland, so he decided to invest in granite counter tops to make it pop. Williams said he went online and found an ad on Craigslist advertising granite installation.
The name on the ad was a woman named Jennifer.
"She said, 'thanks for contacting. We can schedule someone for the next date,'" recalled Williams.
The next day, he said Fortino Solorzano, the owner of Legacy Granite and Marble, was at his doorstep.
"Honestly, I felt like I had got lucky. He came in. He was well dressed, professional," he said. "I really did like him."
For the kitchen counter top he said the owner told him it'd only cost him $1,800.
He said Solorzano even said he'd do the back splash and the bathroom counter tops, all for $2,600. He'd just have to pay half up front so he could get the materials.
"I asked him could I pay by credit card. He told me he was having problems with his machine," said Williams.
So, Williams reluctantly wrote the owner a check for $1,300.
Per the contract, Solorzano was supposed to complete the job by March 17. But Williams said Solorzano never even started.
He said he was stood up by the contractor several times and eventually asked for his money back.
He said the contractor agreed, but never showed up.
"At this point, I know that he's not a legitimate contractor," he said. "I know I just got scammed."
Williams called the NBC 5 Responds team to look into this business and the man behind it. We started with the woman whose name was on that Craigslist ad: Jennifer.
She told us she's not affiliated with any business and that she's "just a middleman" who gets a small cut from connecting customers with contractors.
But in this case, she said she didn't get a dime.
We did some more digging and learned his company also goes by Eagle Granite and Marble.
We came across these complaints online like "Fortino Solorzano stole my countertop deposit check of $3,000," and, "he also did the same thing for me and took my $1000 deposit."
We called the owner to get his side of the story.
He told us his name is Fortino Solorzano and the delays were due to problems with the job and family issues. He said the bad reviews online aren't true.
And per contract, the deposit is non-refundable, but he'll make an exception for this customer to stay off the news.
He told me he'd hand deliver his $1,300 refund to Williams by Saturday at noon. But that day came and went, and he was a no show.
There is no business address listed on the contract. We went back to the contractor and asked him if he had a business address and he's now telling us he's no longer in business.
Williams said he went to the Glenn Heights Police Department and was told this was a civil matter.
He said he may never get his money back, but the least he can do is warn the public.
Williams admits that he made some mistakes; things that he wishes he could do all over again.
- Googling the contractor's name. He did so after the fact when it was too late.
- If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never hand over that much money up front. Deposits are not uncommon in Texas, but half is too much of a risk. If a business doesn't have enough money to buy materials up front, you may want to shop around.
- This business did not have a known physical address. If a contractor can't provide you with a business address, take a pass on giving them cash or a check. It's not a good sign.