At least a dozen customers across North Texas joined forces to look for a business owner who they said took their money and gave them nothing in return.
One of those customers is Aman Pahwa, who shopped the big box stores first when looking for windows.
"I got quotes from everywhere, because I was just shopping around," he said.
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Pahwa lives near noisy U.S. Highway 75, but it's blissfully quiet inside his condo because new windows reduced the noise and his electric bills.
Getting his new panes was a giant pain, though. Pahwa found a business called Lone Star Windows on the web. He said Troy Hagar Jr. came to his home with a sales pitch and a smile.
"He knew all of the details, plus he brought a sample with him," Pahwa said.
Pahwa said Hagar seemed legitimate, so he gave him a check for $1,130, half the total cost of the windows and installation. In exchange, Pahwa said he received nothing in return but excuses. Then, finally, Hagar stopped returning Pahwa's calls and text messages.
"No calls, nothing," he said. "Silent completely."
Pahwa had to pay another company $3,000 for the windows and is still looking for Hagar. Police are looking for him too, as he has warrants for theft in Tarrant County, theft and forgery in Grayson County and a bad check in Collin County.
NBC 5's Consumer Unit has been tracking Hagar for months. When he moved back to North Texas, Consumer Specialist Deanna Dewberry caught up with him.
When asked if he was aware there were warrants for his arrest, Hagar said no. When asked if he was aware of four civil actions against him, he said, "I do know. I'm aware of the civil suits."
Hagar insisted his business failed and he wanted to pay everyone back, including Pahwa. Immediately following that conversation, Hagar called Pahwa and promised a full refund, but Pahwa has yet to be paid.
Police said Hagar still faces possible criminal charges in other similar cases involving his windows business.
Before hiring a contractor, you should:
- Get at least three bids in writing.
- Negotiate the down payment and don't pay it until materials are delivered to your home.
- Check the BBB and online reviews.
- Ask for references.
Hagar's business has no connection to Lone Star Windows in Houston, a company with a long business history.