Consumer Alert: Chesterfield woman speaks out after home improvement project goes wrong

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield woman says a contractor took her money but refused to finish the work he was paid for.

“This is our home, we want it done a certain way, we want to make sure it’s being done right,” said Lisa Lugo.

Lugo says initially they were happy with the contractor her family hired to paint the inside of her home, so they decided to get an estimate from the same contractor for another job.

“We decided to use him to do the siding on our home,” Lugo said.

She says they signed a contract, put 50 percent down with an agreement the job would be completed by a certain date. That day came and went, and weeks later she says her house was still not done. Lugo says the contractor asked for more money when her husband complained.

“They came back they took all the scaffolds, the ladders, everything that was here, they came and took, they had a dumpster,” said Lugo.

Lugo says despite repeated efforts, the contractor refused to finish the work. She later discovered he was not licensed.

“First you’re going to want to make sure you’re hiring a licensed contractor,” said Mary Vaughn, who works with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). The state agency issues licenses to contractors across the state. On their website you can see if a contractor has a valid license, or if it’s been revoked.”

After you check to see if they are licensed, Vaughn recommends you check to see if they are licensed to do the work you are contracting them to do.

“Then you’re going to want to make sure they’re licensed in the specialty for the type of work you’re doing, so that the roofer can do roofing work, but not plumbing,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn says consumers shouldn’t put more than 10% down for any job.

“It’s to the consumer’s benefit to make sure the payments don’t get ahead of the work,” said Vaughn.

It’s a lesson Lugo says she’s learned the hard way

“You never can be too safe,” said Lugo.

Lugo has since hired a licensed contractor to finish the work. Vaughn says if you see a complaint about a licensed contractor don’t assume the worst, it just means you have to do more digging to figure out the circumstances.

8News reached out to the contractor hired by Lugo but have yet to hear back.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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