Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Home Improvement Problems
TV shows make home improvements and repairs look easy. But if you don't hire the right people to do the job.. what happens to your house could be difficult to watch. Tonight, Carmel Cafiero is on the case with a licensing loophole homeowners need to know about.
(WSVN) -- Some of cabinet maker ted bowne's customers have had a hard time catching up with him.
They say they're stuck with unpaid court judgments and incomplete projects.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you tell me why you never finished the Capellini Job?"
Ted Bowne: "I did finish the job. Carmel Cafiero: " He says you didn't."
Albert Capellini hired bowne more than a year ago to remodel his kitchen.
He says bowne never finished the cabinetry.
Albert Capellini:"I gave him the balance due and he never came back."
Gary Frady and his brother martin say the same thing happened to them.
They gave Bowne deposits totaling ten thousand dollars.
Gary's kitchen isn't finished and martin says bowne never even started the work on his kitchen.
Gary Frady: "Everything was yeah we'll come by and fix it, it never happened."
Gary says this voice mail was the last time he heard from Bowne.
Ted Bowne: "Gary, Gary, Gary please buddy I don't want you to be mad or anything and these things are almost done bud."
But when it didn't get done -
The Frady's went to small claims court and won.
But they haven't been able to collect from bowne who didn't even show up for the court hearing.
Carmel Cafiero: "Why didn't you go to court? why didn't you go there's a judgment against you. Ted Bowne: "I'm aware of that I didn't have the money for a lawyer. I really don't want to talk anymore."
And it turns out Bowne's unhappy customers can't expect help from the state.
Cabinet makers and some other trades can be exempt from state or local licensing laws.
And that means buyer beware.
Ed Weller former chairman of the construction industry licensing board suggests checking references.
Ed Weller: "They can check insurance certificates, make sure they have workers compensation insurance and they have liability insurance."
Gary Frady: "For $6800 this is basically what you see."
Gary Frady's cabinets haven't had doors for almost two years.
He thinks the laws should be tougher and that homeowners should have better protection.
Gary Frady: "It's wrong something needs to be done about it."
But that's not likely. Efforts to tighten up the industry in the past - haven't worked. So do your homework before you let someone work in your home. Start by contacting your local building and zoning department to find out about licensing requirements.
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE