5 On Your Side

Raleigh deck-building company goes bankrupt

Posted May 7, 2008 1:44 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2008 10:07 p.m. EDT

— WRAL’s 5 on Your Side has 15 complaints against Dimensional Decking and its owner, Phil Piurkoski. He has paid back some of the complainants, but 5 on Your Side has learned that the company recently filed for bankruptcy, and the rest likely will lose the money they advanced the firm for projects.

About a year ago, Frances Cronlund said, she hired Piurkoski to build a porch. Since he had built a back porch and deck for her two years earlier, Cronlund had no qualms about paying Piurkoski $20,000 of the new project’s $28,000 total cost up front.

Cronlund said Piurkoski started in November, but stopped in December. She has not heard from him since January, even though she has called repeatedly.

“I want him to come out here and finish the job,” Cronlund said.

In January, 5 on Your Side interviewed Piurkoski, who blamed project delays on bad crews.

"We had a lot of problems with crews, couldn't keep good crews on-site," Piurkoski said then.

Piurkoski promised to pay back three customers who had complained to WRAL. Since then, he has given refunds to two. Piurkoski also said he'd catch up on all his jobs by March.

"It’s my business. I’m gonna make it good,” Piurkoski said.

Last week, however, Dimensional Decking filed for bankruptcy. Court documents show the company's income for 2006 and 2007 totaled nearly $1.5 million. The company said it owes more than $220,000 to a long list of creditors, including Cronlund, and has $300 in the bank and few assets.

Five on Your Side tried to track down Piurkoski at his Raleigh home, but no one answered. Piurkoski’s attorney, Richard Sparkman, said there is no money to repay customers. Sparkman said he doesn't know what Piurkoski did with the money he collected.

The case is an example of why customers should never pay too much money up front. Experts say customers should start with 10 percent down and pay more as the work is done.