Troubleshooters: Local family of 6 paid contractor $60,000 but the job's not done

Posted at 8:55 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 21:55:13-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Today's Troubleshooters report is about a familiar topic.

A customer complaint about the contractor they hired.

They have already paid the contractor more than $60,000.00, yet the work is far from complete to the family's satisfaction.

The contractor tells the Troubleshooters he needs more time.

We asked Judy Barrientos to meet us at her house to show us why she called us.

She said she and her family of 6 had just moved to Corpus Christi about 5 months ago, and bought a house just off McKinzie, but it needed some work

So in November she hired Ronnie and Marcus Garcia and South Coast Customs Remodeling to remodel the master bathroom, remodel the half bath, and install new kitchen cabinets, among a list of 12 items on the Scope of Work listed and written in the contract.

Beginning with Barrientos' first payment to South Coast of more than $45,000, and including a payment of more than $6,500 in December, Barrientos has already paid South Coast $60,000.

"And why did you agree to do that ?" we asked her. "Because I thought that they could fulfill what they said they were gonna do," she replied.

According to Barrientos, both sides had a verbal agreement that the project would be complete by Christmas time, but with spring break 2023 approaching, the work is nowhere close to being done.

"What happened here?" the Troubleshooters asked Ronnie Garcia.

"The job didn't get done like the time she wanted to do, and that's what started this whole thing," Garcia answered.

Garcia returned our call while we were still at the house.

We asked Barrientos "do you need permits for this? Who's responsible for pulling and paying for permits? No. I assumed that was part of their job," she replied.

In fact, the contract reads "The parties agree that it is the duty of the constructor to obtain all permits and licenses needed to commerce in the construction of the site and provide his/her services."

"Why would we have to pull permits to do what we were doing ?" Garcia asked.

He acknowledged his company did not finish the job by Christmas as promised, yet, "and he said gimme 30 days," Barrientos recalled. "You can't finish this is 30 days. It was an excuse to take more time."

And while all this was going on, Barrientos and her family had to find another place to stay, at least temporarily, which they did. She tells the Troubleshooters they're paying the rent with money that was going to South Coast.

Garcia insists he always finished his jobs, and has convinced Barrientos to give him one more chance.

"If I don't get the job done in 30 days like I told her, you're going to hire another contractor anyway, know what I mean ? They're going to take another 30 days, 45 days to do it. I'll get it done in 30 days, and if I don't get get it done in 30 days, the the rest of the money that you owe me, you can keep it and I'll still stay there to finish the job."

I checked with Development Services about permits. They told me none were pulled for this particular job, and according to the 12 points listed on the Scope of Work written in the contract, they say permits are required.

So 30 days from Monday, March 13th, we'll check back with Barrientos to see whether South Coast Customs Remodeling keeps their word.