Unlicensed contractor disappears after taking $1,400 job

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

When the 3 On Your Side team finally caught up with an unlicensed contractor by the name of Don Tufts, he ran inside his Phoenix home and tried to hide from our crew.

Marian Ellexson says, she's not surprised.
“I'm just very disappointed that he would have done this, you know, I trusted him, gave him the money he asked me for,” she tells 3 On Your Side.
Marian gave Don Tufts $1,400 for some new blinds and window treatments to install in her home.
She says she hired Don Tufts who runs a company called Ace Blinds, and after giving him the money, she was excited to get the process moving.
“I could've went with, like Home Depot or places like that, but I thought he's an independent businessman, times are hard, so I thought you know, to help the smaller person,” Marian says.
However, after handing over $1,400, Marian says all Don Tufts did was cover a bathroom window and then walked off the job with her money.
Since then, Marian says he has avoided her.
Marian says that amount of money also makes a big difference. “Oh, it's a lot for me cause I'm retired now and I'm on a fixed income. And it was kind of the last project we were going to do on the house,” she tells us.
 Although Don avoided Marian, he couldn't ditch the 3 On Your Side team, who wanted to know what he did with the $1,400 he took four months earlier.
When our 3 On Your Side team first arrived at Don Tufts’ front door, he wanted nothing to do with us or the cameras. Eventually, he comes outside and tells us he is having financial problems and used Marian's $1,400 not to buy blinds, but to pay off other things.
“I co-mingled money with my other business which I shouldn't have done and then I had problems,” Don says.
 While we were there, Don said he felt bad and agreed to order Marian's blinds right then and there. The same blinds he should have ordered months ago.
Before we left, Don Tufts had this to say to Marian, “I'll complete the job and I'm sorry I hung you up and I'm sorry I've hidden from you.”
Don Tufts should know better. He doesn’t have a contractor’s license and he knows he needs one because he has already been convicted of this very offense before. 3 On Your Side will let you know what happens.