5 On Your Side

Customers say Metal Buildings of N.C. gave them concrete slabs

Posted February 19, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Customers say they have little to show for the thousands they paid to a metal-buildings company in Johnston County. Meanwhile, the company appears to be operating under a new name.

Company gives concrete slabs, not buildings to customers Customers say they got concrete, not buildings

In August, Phillip Beamon, of Bailey, hired Kenly-based Metal Buildings of N.C. to construct a 39-by-24 foot garage. Beamon paid more than $4,400 of a $17,600 estimate up front.

In September, the company completed the concrete, and Beamon paid out another $6,000.

So far, that concrete slab is all he's gotten.

"As far as the slab is, everything's alright. But it ain't got no building on it," Beamon said. "And they keep promising they're coming, and they don't."

Beamon said that Metal Buildings promised about seven different start dates, but no one ever showed up. He said he eventually told the company he wanted his money back.

"For my $4,412, I ain't got nothing – except being told a story or two every time," Beamon said.

Beamon is one of three people who complained to 5 on Your Side about Metal Buildings of N.C. The second person also got a concrete slab. The third got a building but said it needed $3,700 worth of repairs.

James Morris, the company's owner, blamed the economy and said he needs customers to be patient.

"We're struggling to stay in business," Morris said.

The owner claimed that Beamon never "communicated" that he wanted a refund. Morris said that he wrote checks to several other people who wanted their money back and would be willing to do the same for Beamon.

"We don't want to do business with people who can't understand our situation," the owner said.

Morris said he never guaranteed a specific completion time.

"The alternative is file bankruptcy and let these folks worry about it like that," he said.

It's not clear whether Morris filed for bankruptcy, but he's advertising under another name: A Web site for Carolina Custom Garages promises "honest, dependable service."

Beamon said he certainly doesn't feel like that's the kind of service he got.

"I should have done my homework better, but I didn't," he said.

Metal Buildings of N.C. got a B-minus rating from the Better Business Bureau after six people complained about the company. All of those complaints have been resolved.

Through a refund payment plan worked out after a court judgment, Morris has paid one of four complainants $600 so far.

Morris promised he would refund Beamon's money by Monday – which is also the date when Beamon's small-claims case against the company goes to court.

3 Comments

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  • HappyGirl08 Feb 23, 2009

    So let me get this straight. The business owner is blaming the consumer and stating that he doesn't want to do business w/a customer that can't understand his situation. That is a load of carp! If you contract to build something, then build it. Yes the economy is bad, but the way you stay in business is to sell your product and keep customers happy. What an idiot.

  • TeresaBee Feb 20, 2009

    I cringed more by the customers grammer than of his pain. Yikes.

  • CestLaVie Feb 20, 2009

    Good, Mr. Morris. You blame the economy, but it sure looks like you have a long track record of taking customer's money & NOT using it to do for them what they've paid you do. It's called fraud and you are being quite negligent in your business, no matter what excuse you want to use. You are a SCAM & your business should be shut down. You are NOT trustworthy & you are a LIAR.

    Unfortunately, you are one of thousands who MAY have a skill to be in business for yourself, but that's about the end of it. Correct use of funds, communicating with your customers on a timely basis & being honest with them: ALL part of owning your own business. Can't do that? GET OUT.