5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side works for answers when a local fence and deck company suddenly shuts down

Posted October 14, 2019 7:25 p.m. EDT
Updated October 14, 2019 9:35 p.m. EDT

— After weeks of no communication from a local fence and deck company, customers reached out to 5 On Your Side for help. Monica Laliberte heard from eight customers who, combined, paid Robco Fence and Deck of Raleigh just more than $26,000.

Katy Claggett hired Robco in May to add 10 feet onto her deck and build a patio.

The deck was to be screened in with a fan and electricity.

"Robco impressed us with their sales pitch," Claggett said.

She was also impressed with the construction plans, reviews from a friend who used Robco, and many others she found online.

"(I) gave them 50% of the purchase price," as a down payment Claggett said. That down payment totaled $15,483.

Work was supposed to start at her Raleigh home in July.

Claggett says instead, she received a few emails with Robco, then nothing.

"It is just completely mind blowing that they have gone completely dark," Claggett said.

Frustrated, she reached out to 5 On Your Side last week.

Monica Laliberte heard from other customers in Raleigh, Durham and Smithfield.

All say they paid 50% deposits to Robco for work that was never started.

To get answers, 5 On Your Side called, emailed and texted CEO Jay Robinson and his brother, Senior Project Manager Andrew Robinson, multiple times.

We also reached out to three other company representatives, but never heard back.

When Monica went to Robco last week, she found locked gates and parked trucks.

Monica also went to a Raleigh townhome, which online records list as Jay Robinson's home.

No answer there, or at a home a few doors down where a Robco truck was parked.

Soon after 5 On Your Side reached out, customers finally started hearing from Robco.

Some got texts, others, like Alyssa Duke of Durham, received an email.

It said in part, because of "...economic factors, we will be forced to close our doors and discontinue operations."

Robco wrote the company "will not have the crews or support necessary to begin or complete ... jobs" adding they're reviewing contracts ... and will send another update.

Duke was later told a check was in the mail.

Three customers did receive refund checks over the weekend.

Katy Claggett was still waiting.

"We're just trying to picture a worst case scenario," Claggett said. "I guess that that would be out $15,000 with absolutely nothing to show. And that's so unacceptable to us."

Then late Monday, after 5 On Your Side reached out again to the company, Claggett got a text from Andrew Robinson saying they were "...working on refunds..." and "...will have an update this week."

Limit down payment to limit exposure

While most of of the customers did their research to vet the company, one takeaway for viewers is deposit amounts. Monica's rule of thumb for any contractor is no more than 10% down, then make payments as work is completed.

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