On Your Side Investigation: Contractor doesn't finish project, customers want refund

Battlefield, Mo. A family in Battlefield planned to enjoy their new deck this fall. More $5,000 later, the job is not done and they believe it's not safe.

Stephen Burns says his backyard is more than an eyesore. He believes the boards are not safe.

"I've tripped over this a couple of times. He used foam rather than concrete. He told me I could park my Subaru on the deck, when he was finished," said Burns.

Burns says he hired Cale Nolan with Nolan Contracting. In a text message Nolan said the job will get done before July 4. In late June, Gwen and Stephen paid Nolan $3,700 upfront. A few days later Nolan asked for more money to cover supplies. The Burns gave him nearly $2,000. The contract reads price includes materials, labor and permit costs.

"He said oh yeah ... I got that weeks ago. Then of course we trusted that," said Gwen Burns.

The Building Inspector for City of Battlefield confirms to On Your Side -- no one filed a permit application. So a permit was not issued. In an email the inspector went on to tell us, "Doing a visual inspection of the deck, it was apparent that it did not meet our current building codes in its current state of construction."

After several no-shows and lack of progress, the Burns said they cut ties with Nolan.

"We lost our whole summer to this. I don't want anyone else to fall for it like we did. We felt ignorant for having trusted him in the first place," said Gwen Burns.

On Your Side has called Cale Nolan since Tuesday. We have not heard back from him.

Nolan Contracting does not have a business license in the city of Battlefield. A business license and a permit is required to build a deck in Battlefield.

The company has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau and a few complaints. The company does have an LLC.

On Your Side also emailed and Facebook messaged Nolan. We haven't heard back.

As for the Burns, they plan to hire a different contractor who will tear down what Nolan did and start over.

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU EDITED NEWS RELEASE ON NOLAN CONTRACTING

Consumers Tell BBB Nolan Contracting Failed to Finish Projects, Provide Refunds

Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to use caution when dealing with Nolan Contracting. Consumers allege the Greenfield, Missouri, business failed to finish projects, failed to refund money, and provided overall poor customer service.

The business has an "F" rating, the lowest on BBB's scale, due to several recent unanswered consumer complaints.

"A company should never abandon its customers," said Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield regional director. "The business is obligated to either finish the work or refund money paid for the work that was not done."

A woman from Republic, Missouri, told BBB she entered into a contract with Nolan Contracting and its owner, Cale Nolan, in July 2019. The business was to install gutters on three structures on her property and waterproof a deck. The woman said she paid the business $1,683, half of the overall cost for the work. The woman said Nolan bought some materials and worked for about three hours on one day before the project was abandoned.

"He just took the money," the woman told BBB.

The woman said she tried to contact the business on multiple occasions with little success.

A Springfield, Missouri, man, told BBB he hired Nolan Contracting in July 2019 to install a new deck at his residence. The man said he gave Nolan a down payment of $2,700 to start the work. He claims Nolan did little work on the project, saying that Nolan was at the residence for less than a half day.

"We never saw him again after that," the man told BBB.

The man said he could not contact Nolan after that half day of work. The man said he is in the process of finding another contractor to do the job.

A woman from Brookline Station, Missouri, told BBB she hired Nolan Contracting in June 2019 to build a deck around a pool at her residence. The woman said the business did minimal work over five days. She said she paid the business $5,681.50.

After the work was left unfinished, the woman said she had another contractor and her city's inspector come out to look at the work done by Nolan Contracting. The woman said the deck was ruled unsafe and the city has ordered her to take down the deck.

The woman said she reached an agreement for a partial refund from Nolan, who was to pay her a $600 lump sum and then installment payments of $50 a month until he repaid her $1,000. She said Nolan failed to show up at a planned meeting at a local bank.

The woman said she is seeking another contractor to rebuild the deck.

According to Missouri secretary of state records, Nolan Contracting was formed in January 2018.

BBB attempted to reach Nolan by mail, email and phone, but received no response. The business did not respond to a BBB letter regarding what the business is doing to address its pattern of complaints.

BBB offers the following tips on hiring a reputable contractor:

· Research any business and its owners carefully before paying any money. Check the company's BBB Business Profile at bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.

· Ask for references and contact them.

· Before paying, make sure you have a signed contract outlining what work is to be done, a timetable for completion and an explanation of what happens if the business or consumer reneges on the agreement.

· Ask the contractor for proof that he or she is bonded and insured.

· Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the payment.

· Do not pay everything in advance. It is a good rule to pay a portion when you sign the contract and the final payment only after you are satisfied with the completed work.

· When work is completed and the contractor has been paid, make sure you have received lien waivers showing subcontractors and material suppliers have been paid for the job.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.