Complaints Mount Against Wake County Fence Builder
Posted March 26, 2002
RALEIGH, N.C. — Homeowners across Wake County are out thousands of dollars because they say a fence contractor they all hired did not do what he was hired to do.
This is one of those cases where the complaints started coming in one after the other. All of the homeowners hired Andy Debnam, who was operating a business under the names Carolina Fence Co. and Capital City Fencing.
"I just wanted to talk to you about Tyeshia Barnes and her fence," said Five On Your Side's Monica Laliberte.
Debnam did not want to talk to WRAL last November and moments later, shut the door.
Even worse is how he disappointed Darius Barnes.
"I'm going to get an orange and yellow dog," he said. "I'll take him for a walk and I'll play catch with him."
Tyeshia Barnes promised her son that he could get a dog when she could afford a fence. That is where Debnam and his Carolina Fence Co. come in.
"It was supposed to start middleways from the side of my house and go completely back to my property line," Barnes said.
After four years of saving, Barnes finally had enough to pay Debnam a $1,900 deposit in Nov. However, Darius never got his dog, because Debnam still had not put up the fence.
"I honestly believe he's nothing but a lot of talk," she said.
Five On Your Side said it knows of eight more people who feel the same about Debnam. Altogether, they paid him more than $15,000. Seven customers still do not have a fence, and the two that got theirs got them only after Five On Your Side got involved.
All of the customers told Five On Your Side the same basic story: Debnam made constant excuses, did not return phone calls, and will not give them back their money.
"How could anybody do something like this?" Barnes asked.
Five On Your Side tracked down Debnam and found him at a Garner hotel.
"Andy, I'm Monica Laliberte from Channel Five. I just want to talk to you about Tyeshia Barnes and her fence -- when are you going to take care of it or give her money back?"
Debnam said "Excuse me?" He then said "Never mind" and shut the door.
Raleigh and Garner police have been at his door several times over the past few weeks to arrest him on fraud charges.
Barnes did not expect to ever see a dime from Debnam, but late last week, he finally showed up and put up her fence.
Darius can finally get a dog.
"I will play with him all the time," he said. "He will just be so nice!"
Debnam did call Five On Your Side, saying he decided he wanted to be interviewed and said he would call back with a time and place, but he never did.
Debnam also apparently decided to change the name of his company to FenceMax.
Five On Your Side warns that the homeowners could have protected themselves by not paying more than the standard 10 percent of the total cost up front; pay more as the work is completed.