One north side woman says she paid a contractor thousands of dollars to remodel her kitchen and bathroom. But what began as her dream plan turned into a financial and emotional nightmare.
Jancelynne Jackson's home is currently under renovation, and the chaos inside was understandable four months ago.
"There are inconveniences, says Jackson, but months of inconvenience for a project that's supposed to be done in two to three weeks?
On May 4th, Jackson hired Vickers General Contractor to do some remodeling. The owner, David Vickers, quoted a price of $17,000 dollars. For that, Jackson, a single mother, was promised a new bathroom and a new kitchen, appliances included.
Jackson says Vickers told her the job would be done in three weeks, and she agreed to pay about 57 hundred dollars up front.
Then, two days later, something seemed wrong. Jackson says Vickers asked for another payment within 48 hours.
He's said it's a demo payment."
Jackson wrote him the second check, hoping to prevent any delays. But her attempt was unsuccessful.
After the second payment, Jackson says, "he stopped showing up."
The project that should have been completed in three weeks, was not close to being finished at the three week mark. Jackson says the delay forced her and her 18-year old daughter to move out of the house because there was no working toilet or a place to cook.
Jackson concedes that crews came back and did some of the work, but not all of the work. Still, she gave Vickers the final payment, hoping to finally move home.
"I was desperate, I was frustrated.
She moved back in on July 29th, the day the new toilet was installed. But still, she was not happy with the progress of the project.
She says the carpeting was accidentally pulled up and not replaced. There was supposed to be a frameless shower, recessed lighting, new windows in the bathroom and kitchen and new appliances. All of these things, Jackson says, were not done; and that was just for starters.
"I have an uneven floor, she says, and with the floor not level, the toilet leans forward."
Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau says that this is not the first time Vickers has received complaints.
"We had processed nineteen complaints against Vickers in the last three years, he says. Ten of those happened in the last twelve months."
The BBB says eight of those complaints are still unresolved, and in 3 of those cases, the company never responded to Bureaus requests for an explanation.
On top of that, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Vickers current contractors license is on probation. At one time, it was even suspended.
That might slow down business for some contractors, but not Vickers. He is also applying to be a certified air conditioning contractor so he can do even more work in North East Florida.
Even more surprising are results turned up by the Building Code Enforcement who started its own investigation into the contractor. Investigators found out that Vickers didn't have the permits to do work on Jacksons house.
They also found that Vickers needed a building permit for some work he did to the bathroom floors from under the house. All of these totaled three violations.
David Vickers responded to the situation saying this was the first time he'd ever been confronted about any of his work, and was surprised to hear that Jackson wasn't a happy customer.
"I'm very pleased with the renovation, I think it turned out nice," he said. "Her expectations are sky high, and there's no way to meet them.
He also said that Jackson got exactly what she paid for.
"You know the old saying, champagne taste with a beer pocketbook.
While Vickers admitted he was on probation he denied that his license was ever suspended.
Right now, Code Enforcement says there are complaints against Vickers on 41 projects in Jacksonville alone.
Now, the city won't allow him to pull any new permits until the complaints are resolved. So how does he still have a contractors license?
Code Enforcement says it doesn't have the power to yank it. That is the state's responsibility.
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