TEMPE, Ariz. -- Christine Diiorio has lived in her Tempe home for 11 years and recently decided to make some improvements.
The entire project was supposed to cost around $8,000 so the homeowners handed over 5 grand just to get started. But after getting the money, the contractor never finished.
“We were going to remodel our shower but it was either that or landscaping and we went for the landscaping," Diiorio said. "I pushed for it."
So Diiorio started searching online and came across a company called Salinas' Concepts run by a guy named Marcos Salinas.
“This company drew out exactly kind of what I had in mind and he was willing to work with us with payments to finish the rest of the project," she said. "It was kind of a no-brainer.”
Diiorio hired Salinas for the $8,000 project and actually gave him two $2,500 payments for a grand total of $5,000 just to get started.
According to Diiorio, her backyard makeover complete with water features was supposed to only take three to four weeks to complete.
“And they would come in for two or three hours a day, move around some dirt and leave,” she said.
After a small amount of work was performed, Salinas abandoned the job and never showed up again. Much of the money he was paid up front was supposed to go to pavers. Those pavers were never delivered and certainly never installed.
“For $5,000, I have stucco cinder block and a Home Depot gate and AstroTurf,” Diiorio said.
So, she contacted 3 On Your Side. We went to his last known address for some answers. It turns out it wasn't Salinas we found but his dad, who claimed he didn't know anything about the job his son abandoned or the $5,000 he walked away with.
However, he promised to have Salinas call me, and he did.
In a telephone conversation, Salinas blamed Diiorio and her husband for being hard to work with.
I reminded Marcos that he's not even supposed to be in this line of work because he's not licensed with Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Any work over a grand and a contractor like Salinas needs to be licensed bonded and insured.
But, after some negotiating Salinas agreed to return half of the money he took, around $2,500, because he said some work was actually done.
Diiorio said the ordeal has been a lesson.
“Make sure whoever you hire is a licensed contractor and ask for proof,” she said.
3 On Your Side is going to give Salinas the benefit of the doubt and give him a month to pay Diiorio. We plan on airing a follow-up to let you know if he returns the money.