Troubleshooters: Woman winds up overpaying for a deck that was never built

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 18:22:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A woman hired a contractor to build a deck in her backyard, and it appears the contractor overcharged her.

Since the job wasn't getting done, she told the contractor just tear it all down and give her a refund. But that's not all that happened.

Catarina Meza's backyard is still empty, at least the part where she hoped to have a deck built.

In June 2020, she hired a contractor named Leon Del Toro to build the deck. The total cost they agreed on was $13,900. Meza paid him nearly $7,000 on June 22, and two weeks later, she paid him $15,200.

But why?

"At the time, I didn't realize that I had already had the $6,955. before that," Mexa told the Troubleshooters.

So it appears Meza actually wound up paying Del Toro more than $20,000 for a job he still hasn't finished.

Among the excuses Meza says Del Toro gave her? He was waiting on inspectors to come out to the job site.

Meza says after having solar panels installed on her home by a different contractor, the roof began leaking.
Del Toro came to her rescue. At least that's what she thought.

"He said he knew of an attorney that would help me," she told us.

Meza says Del Toro asked her for $800 for the attorney's retainer, then went to her bank to cash the check.
Fortunately, Meza says her bank called her to make sure they could go ahead and cash the check, even though it was made out to attorney Patel, not Del Toro.

Meza says she told the bank to go ahead and cash it. Then she called the attorney's office.

"I called the attorney just to verify, and they had nothing on that case. Or they didn't know nothing about him or me," she recalled.

The Troubleshooters called the attorney's office to confirm this information. They told us, first of all, they don't handle cases like this. And secondly, they've never heard of Leon Del Toro.

Meza says she feels like she's been robbed.

So she still doesn't have the deck. In fact, she doesn't even want it anymore. She overpaid for it, and she just wants her money back. This is a life lesson learned.

The Troubleshooters tried calling Leon Del Toro. No answer. We went to an address Meza had for him.
Nobody answered the door.

Besides the Troubleshooters, Meza says someone in the Nueces County Courthouse is helping her get some kind of justice in this case.

Of course we'll keep following this story and let you know what happens next.