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BBB urges payment in thirds to avoid contractor pitfalls

Posted at 12:58 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-15 14:20:22-04

Michael Incardona is planning to eventually downsize and sell his Cheektowaga home.  He wanted to finish his basement and hired SDH Construction to get it done.

The problem is, Incardona said the owner of SDH Construction didn't finish what he started.  Incardona said he signed a $4,000 contract and paid in full.

"He stopped showing up after we paid him. He had no incentive to come back," said Incardona.

Electrical outlets were left hanging out of the wall.  The drop ceiling sags, according to Incardona.  He said molding is missing from the floro boards.

"It hurts.  It hurts," Incardona said.  "My wife and I had to save up quite a bit of money and we actually took out a personal loan to pay it.  Now I'm paying out a loan with interest and the work's not even done."

Melanie McGovern is from the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. 

"Make sure the person you're hiring is reputable-- that you're going to get a good job out of them and you're going to get what you pay for," McGovern said.

She explained SDH Construction is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but is not under any obligation to be accredited by the organization.

"It's just something that businesses use to show they're trustworthy," McGovern said.

In general, the BBB suggests paying a contractor three times to make sure the job gets done.  McGovern says, pay a third at the start, during and when the project is finished.

"Don't pay cash upfront, because sometimes you won't have any recourse to get that cash back," McGovern said.

You can also take that contractor to court.

Michael Incardona did just that and won repayment of $720, considering SDH Construction partially completed the job.

Incardona finally got all his money back after the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team made some phone calls to SDH Construction's owner, Steve Horton.  

Now, Incardona is left to hire someone else to pick up where the other contractor left off.

The contractor would not speak with 7 Eyewitness News on camera, but by phone admitted he could not get the job done in the time period set by the court.  He said his schedule and Incardona's didn't align, but that he fulfilled his financial obligation, as ordered by the judge.  

There are many businesses registered with the Better Business Bureau.  To see if your contractor is registered, click here.  If you want to file a complaint, click here.