Scam Alert: A Caution To Consumers

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When the weather starts to warm up, many homeowners start to make plans to do some type of home improvement. In June 2016, I decided to repair my cracked driveway and have a fence built around the front of my house. I logged onto the Internet and typed in “concrete contractors.” A website called www.homeadvisors.com came up. The site asked me a series of questions about the home improvement project that I was planning.

I answered the questions and the names of three contractors came up. Shortly afterwards, I received phone calls from two contractors who said that they had gotten my number from www.homeadvisors.com and they were interested in doing the work on my house. They said that they would come to my house, take a look at the job, take measurements and give me a free estimate. Two of the contractors came by, took measurements, gave me estimates and gave me their business cards. A few weeks later one of the contractors named Jose Lizama of Fransisco’s Contracting called me and asked me if I was ready to have the job done and I said “yes.”

Jose came to my house and we drew up a contract for the work detailing everything that had to be done, including a payment plan and the time frame in which the work was to be done. The contract stated that the job would take one to two weeks to complete. The contract stated the entire cost to be $6,720. The contract also stated the payment schedule, which was an initial deposit of $2,000, a second payment of $2,300 when the cement was ready to be poured and the balance of $2,470 when the job was completed. Shortly after the contract creation date, Jose and his worker’s began the work and were somewhat diligent as they demolished the entire driveway and started to remove some of the debris. Jose came to me and said that he needed the second payment because he needed to reserve the concrete pouring machine so that he could do the concrete pouring in two days.

I wrote him the check and he did not show up to do work the next day. I called him on his cell phone only to get a recorded message. I left a message asking where he was and for him to call me. After several more phone calls and text messages, I finally got a response from him saying that he was purchasing materials for the gates and the fence. Long story short, we are now in November and he has not done one more bit of work. I have made dozens of calls to him and sent a bunch of text messages. He has given me excuses from being sick, to his workers being sick, to don’t worry I’ll be there soon, to I will call you tomorrow (meanwhile I have since been treated and recovered from cancer).

I went to the two addresses that he put on the contract and when I spoke to the people at the first address, they told me that he was a crazy con artist that had be pulling the same scam with homeowners for years and that he had moved from that address eight years ago and that he had been making off with homeowners money for years using the same concrete contractor scheme. When I went to the second address, the person that answered the door said that “he had moved from that address two years ago.”

Upon calling the second phone number that he put on the contract, I discovered that he had put his competitor’s phone number on the contract. I called the help number on the www.homeadvisor.com and spoke to their contractor solutions representative. The representative said that his calls to Jose were ignored. I finally caught up with Jose on the phone by calling him by surprise at 11 p.m. When I told him that I did not like his fraudulent scam, he said ”it’s not a felony.” I have since filled a complaint against him with the attorney general’s office and I am waiting to hear a response. Let the buyer beware. Do not do any business with Jose Lizama of Fransisco’s Construction. He is a fraudulent scam artist.

As contractor’s work is somewhat seasonal I will be sending a follow-up letter to the editor in the spring of 2017 to inform the public as to what the results of my experience with Jose Lizama will be. His scam should be at the forefront of the public’s attention at a time when they could be most susceptible to his scam. Personally, I have informed the attorney general that I want a refund from Jose Lizama.

—Steven L. Palmore

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