Rougemont, N.C. — A Durham County homeowner paid thousands of dollars to a Raleigh contractor for a job that was barely started. Months later, he just wants his money back.
After failed promises from the business owner, the homeowner called 5 On Your Side for help.
In September, Rougemont homeowner Mickey Holsey paid more than $6,000 to Chappell Construction to pave his gravel driveway.
"It's expensive," Holsey said. "His bid was $6,645."
Holsey met with owner, Charles Chappell, who has a history of arrests on various charges, including forgery and fraud, 5 On Your Side has since learned.
"I paid him $2,200 up front, paying with a check," Holsey said.
Chappell quickly got to work and said the project would take just a few days. But then, Holsey said, Chappell told him he needed more money to order the concrete.
"I know that times are pretty tough for contractors, so I felt some sympathy for him," Holsey said. "So, I paid him the remaining two-thirds."
That was $4,000, paid with a credit card. At that point, Holsey thought, "I'm going to have a driveway by the next day."
But nothing happened. The grading was never finished. The wooden supports weren't even straight.
That's when the excuses started.
"His men, he said, were in a car wreck and that slowed him down," Holsey said. "One of them was on a scaffold, and the scaffold collapsed and he fell 50 feet and is paralyzed for life."
More time passed, and when Holsey went online to search Chappell's name, he found several complaints. One customer wrote, "He scammed me, too. Around $5K and months of my life stressed out."
Another said Chappell claimed "he needed $2,500 for a concrete job he had going on in Raleigh," asking the customer to invest in his business.
Eventually, Holsey told Chappell he just wanted his money back. He disputed the $4,000 charge on his credit card and had it credited back to him.
But he asked Chappell for $1,700, less than the $2,200 he paid upfront because some of the work had been done.
At first, Chappell agreed, Holsey said. But then, more excuses.
"I'll pay you tomorrow. I'll pay you later today. I'm waiting for a check to clear. There's been a fraud investigation in my back account," he said.
5 On Your Side called Chappell, who agreed he owed Holsey $1,000, adjusted for the work he actually completed. He said he would pay it right away, but that never happened.
Two and a half weeks later, 5 On Your Side visited Chappell's home. He wasn't there, but again said by phone that he would pay soon.
"As soon as I get back in town, I will take care of this by the end of the week with no problems at all," he said.
Again, he promised payment; this time by 5 p.m. Monday.
As of Wednesday, Holsey is still waiting for the money.
"I've been lied to over and over and over again," he said. "It's very aggravating."