Unlicensed Contractors Can Cause Heartache

ByABC News via logo
February 20, 2004, 6:22 AM

Feb. 20 -- Sallie and Bruce Lloyd hired contractor Jon Wright four years ago to do work on their Freeport, N.Y. home, a move they have since come to regret. Deeply.

After spending $28,000, the bathroom in their Long Island home did not look anything like what they had requested, from the ceiling rafters, to the non-waterproof sheetrock on the walls. In a lawsuit, they claim that Wright, of Wright Contracting in Freeport, bungled the job.

"He's a scoundrel and a thief," Sallie Lloyd said. "His work is shoddy and he can't be trusted for one minute."

At the time that the work was done, Wright was licensed, but Lloyd says the contractor hired plumbers and electricians who were not licensed, and that he did not bother to get permits. Plus, while doing the job, workers fell through the ceiling not once, but twice.

"They had no clue what they were doing," said Sallie Lloyd. "And so they made bad mistakes mistakes that nearly burned down our house, that nearly electrocuted us."

Wright has denied doing anything wrong.

One of the most common consumer complaints is home improvement contractors who turn out to be masters of disaster. In fact, complaints about home improvement contractors went up 13 percent in 2002, according to the Consumer Federation of America. The difference between a good contractor and a bad one often comes down to whether or not they have a license.

In Hicksville, N.Y., Rose Elias says she paid so-called contractor Steve Galindo of G & B Contracting (formerly SCG Contracting) in Wantagh, N.Y., and his partner nearly $30,000 last year for home improvements they never finished.

She took photos of their handiwork, which included leaving a 220-volt, live wire exposed in her home.

"That's my bathtub that they left undone," Elias said, flipping through pictures. "Those are also wires that they left exposed. Water leak damage right there. That's where the toilet is supposed to sit, they left it open. The sewer, the smell, coming through there."