5 On Your Side

Garner woman learns hard lesson about hiring contractors

Posted January 28, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Now more than ever, people want to get what they pay for. So it is wise to be extra careful when hiring a contractor. Never pay more than 10 percent up front.

Businesses that require more may not be financially solid.

It was a lesson Nancy Welsh learned the hard way when she hired a contractor to build her grandson's nursery.

“It is was supposed to be a lovely surprise. It was supposed to be nice. And it was supposed to be (done) three months ago,” she said.

Welsh is adding the nursery to her daughter's house, along with an extended deck.

“It has been absolutely horrible,” Welsh said.

Welsh says she blames Richard Stacy, owner of RPS Contracting. Stacy was arrested two weeks ago on charges he took money from another customer without doing the work.

Welsh hired Stacy in October. So far, she has paid $9,000 of the $12,000 he quoted for the job. However, she says getting him to actually show up and do the work was a problem from the start.

“Everybody is sick – sick or in an accident, or going through a divorce and having hard times,” Welsh said. “He has an excuse list longer than the China Wall. It just goes on forever. They just flow like water."

In mid-December, rain got inside the area where the addition connected to the existing house.

“Where this door is was a window, and water would run along that beam and then come down onto the window and spread out,” Welsh said.

Damage from the rain caused sheet rock and insulation to have to be removed, and a big dryer was brought in to dry everything out.

"It just saturated all of that, including the carpet,” Welsh said.

Welsh says she left Stacy repeated messages about the problems.

He “wouldn't even come then, wouldn't even come when the roof and all that damage was done,” Welsh said.

Welsh is one of three people who complained to 5 on Your Side about Stacey. It turns out he has even more problems, however: a long rap sheet showing arrests on multiple charges of forgery, writing bad checks and taking money but not doing work.

When 5 on Your Side talked with Stacy by telephone, after he got out of jail from his most recent arrest, he said he simply "underbid" the jobs and he couldn't complete them for what he charged.

"I didn't take these people's money and ... hit the Caribbean," Stacy said.

Welsh says she doesn't care about what Stacy did with the money, she just wants some of hers back. Then she can pay the other people she has since hired to finish her grandson's nursery.

Stacy told WRAL he wants to work out something with Welsh and that he would have his attorney contact her. So far, that hasn't happened.

Stacy learned about Welsh through an online "contractor finder" service that promises qualified and reliable people. Welsh's story is a reminder that you should do a background check, call references and check with the Better Business Bureau before hiring a contractor.

If Welsh had done that, that she would have learned that Stacy has a "C" rating.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • auburnogre Feb 2, 2009

    Two words that should have raised a flag: Lowest Bidder. Quick question: was he a licensed contractor when he bid and was subsequently hired to do the work?

  • gotsomesense Jan 30, 2009

    A contract is a contract and it has to be honored. I am an electrical contractor and if I find that I have bid a job too low then I just have to eat it. It's called good business. Satisfied customers might not say anything unless somebody asks them. Unsatisfied customers will take out a loan to put up a billboard. According to the article, if low bid is Stacy's "excuse" then he must make this a habit.

  • Z Man Jan 30, 2009

    I can't believe those here defending the contractor! The owner is not negligent because the contractor came in low! What, you sign a contract and when you think you did enough work for the dollar amount just stop working?

    And yes, there are a lot of good contractors out there that are not getting business because of homeowners past experiences.

  • luvmyjackrascal Jan 30, 2009

    What really stinks is there are hard working contractors out there who can't find work to do because of idiots like him!

    There are so many people like him that you don't know who to trust! We had to have our 9 year old heat pump replaced - the guy said it was shot. We had to take his word for it and it costs us a lot of money - unexpectedly. The guy was super nice and seemed knowledgeable, so we had no choice but to trust him, but it is hard to know who to call and who to trust.

  • districtcadvocate Jan 29, 2009

    superman is absolutely right. She has her $12,000 from what I see in the picture posted. Now did the contractor under bid, yep he/she did but somehow I think the owner was aware that the bid was extraordinarily low and therefore is somewhat negeligent.

  • skewlteachrmommy Jan 29, 2009

    Supeman- you're super WRONG! It was not her responsibility to put up plastic. If the contractor had done his job the roof and sides of the addition would have been sealed. She got a reasonable quote for this job and it would have taken about two solid weeks of hard work. A heat pump is already put together at the factory and is not even in the same category as building additions- its our family's income so I do know what I'm talking about. What really stinks is there are hard working contractors out there who can't find work to do because of idiots like him!

  • XARABELLE Jan 29, 2009

    You should try Solid Builders out of Cary....they're wonderful, they communicate, do quality work, and have ALWAYS the resources to keep the job moving!

  • superman Jan 28, 2009

    I think she already has her 12,000. Surely she didnt think he was going to do all that for 12,000.00. I just had my new heat pump repaired which was 3 years old and under warranty and it cost me almost 1,000.00. The repairman was here about 3 to 4 hours. She should have put up some plastic or plywood to cover the hole to keep the weather out. I would have done something to prevent the wind and rain from coming in the house. Sure she paid him but yea-- it was her problem when the water started coming in the house!