The East Hanover couple saw an ad for the company’s handyman services, guaranteeing all work, so they called.
On Aug. 7, 2009, the O’Connors said the owner, John, gave an estimate of $550 to buy and install two interior doors and a ceiling vent and to paint a ceiling. They accepted, and John and another man returned later that day to install the doors. The O’Connors paid $400 cash for the job.
‘‘After they left, we found that the doors were warped and did not close properly,’’ said Rose O’Connor. ‘‘When they returned the next day to install the vent and paint the ceiling, we sent them away, indicating that we would not let them do further work until they rectified the door job.’’
When Rose O’Connor called John that evening, she asked if he had another person who could fix the doors. She said John asked for a week and he’d get back to them.
But the O’Connors said that was the last they ever heard, and no one returned the couple’s many subsequent phone calls and messages.
In September, the O’Connors contacted the Division of Consumer Affairs, and a mediator was assigned to the case. A few months passed, but in December, the mediator reported that E-Z Does It agreed to return $200 to the couple.
‘‘Since then we have not received any money from E-Z Does It nor have we heard from them,’’ said Rose O’Connor, who said she thought the $200 was reasonable because workers did spend time in her home.
Last week, Bamboozled left a message for E-Z Does It, and a woman who identified herself as Linda left Bamboozled a message. We’ve since left multiple messages and sent several e-mails, but no one from the company has responded.
We asked Consumer Affairs if it could do anything more to help.
The mediator has no legal authority to force the contractor to pay the consumer, said spokesman Jeff Lamm.
‘‘In a mediation, both parties agree to settlement terms negotiated by the mediator,’’ Lamm said. ‘‘In this case, if the contractor does not follow through on the terms he agreed to, the consumer can go to court and ask a judge to enforce the agreement.’’
The O’Connors said they’re contemplating small claims court, and in the meantime, they hired another contractor to replace the doors for $409.
We hope E-Z Does It returns the money it has already agreed to return. We’ll let you know what happens.
DRIVEWAY DONE RIGHT
In July 2009, Bamboozled reported the driveway dilemma of Murli and Sunita Kalro of Bridgewater.
The couple hired Right-Way Paving and Masonry of Morristown and owner Tom Magill to resurface their existing driveway and install Belgian blocks around the driveway’s perimeter.
The $6,000 job was botched, with cracks in the pavement and crumbling materials before the work was a month old.
The Kalros contacted Magill, who had guaranteed the work for three years, and Murli Kalro said they got nothing but the runaround. Bamboozled reached out to Magill, who promised to do the right thing and fix the job. He didn’t.
In the fall of 2009, Kalro took his case to small-claims court and was awarded a judgment of $2,940, plus court costs, against Magill and Right-Way Paving.
He still hasn’t seen the money. But, we gladly report, the driveway has been fixed. But not by Magill.
After reading about the Kalros in The Star-Ledger, Supreme Metro Corp., a South Plainfield commercial and industrial paver, offered free labor and equipment to redo the Kalro’s driveway, and Tilcon N.J. of Wharton donated 35 tons of asphalt and materials and also took away the cracked driveway at no cost. The two companies even picked up the tab for the trucking costs, which the Kalros were initially going to pay.
And now, nearly a year later, the job is done.
‘‘They tore up the whole driveway, took away the pieces, put extra dirt and leveled a whole new base and then they put the asphalt down,’’ said Murli Kalro. “It looks great.”
Thanks to Supreme and Tilcon for stepping up to help the Kalros. Seems Mr. Magill could learn a thing or two from the pros.
KEEP FRAUD TO YOURSELF
“Captain Matthew Stamford” sent Bamboozled an e-mail, saying he’s with the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. He wrote:
‘‘I found some money stashed in a couple of barrels while on patrol ($900,000.00) I need someone to help me move it to a safer place, please have it in mind that there is no danger involved.’’
He then provided me with an e-mail address so I could help him smuggle the funds.
Dear “Captain,” my father was a U.S. Marine and I know people who serve, and who have served, overseas, so I take a little extra insult at your attempt to defraud innocent people by playing on their support of the military.
‘‘I think it’s in part bad people playing on heartstrings using our good men and women,’’ said Capt. Brian Brock, spokesman for the Marine Corps. ‘‘We would encourage anybody to disregard them.“