Homeowner out $2,000 after landscaper abandons job

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- An East Valley homeowner says he's out $2,000 after the contractor he hired ran off with the money.

This was supposed to be a backyard makeover. But after doing very little work, Jeremy Vega says the guy he hired abandoned the job even though it was paid for in full.

"When you first move in, you think, oh it's gonna be great, I'm going to be able to landscape my own backyard, put my own design in it," said Vega. "We wanted to just landscape this whole thing. Do rock curbing, grass and trees in the corners, do some plants, just make it look nice.”

So to make that transformation happen, Jeremy looked on Craigslist and found someone he thought was just right for the job.

"He said he could do it, concrete and the backyard and everything for about $2,000," Vega remarked.

The person Vega hired was Filiberto Ramos.

Ramos reportedly agreed to do the job but said he'd first need some money.

"He said he needed a portion of it down, so we gave him a portion of it down, about $800," stated Vega.

For $800 Ramos started the job, but Vega says he kept asking for more money.

"Then he asked for more and more and more and then we hit the total and he just would never show up," Vega recalled.

Vega says after shelling out $2,000, the full amount of the project, Ramos poured a small patch of concrete and dug a few trenches but that was it.

“I feel suckered,” said Vega.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Filiberto Ramos on the telephone, and he said Vega wasn't happy with the pace of his work.

"I did the cement and I started the work, and they said I was taking too long," Ramos explained.

Ramos eventually agreed to call Vega to return a portion of the money, claiming he did do some work.

"They can call me and I'll reimburse them the money by Thursday. I don't want any problems," Ramos said.

Vega says he hopes Ramos makes good on his promise to return some if not all of his money. After all, he has to pay to finish the yard that Ramos abandoned.

“Nice to look at, sit on the patio and just enjoy it, but now it's like I'm in the desert," Vega noted.

Well, Ramos was supposed to return around $1,300 p.m. Thursday, but he didn't, saying he couldn't come up with the money after all.

However, he says he'll return it Friday.

3 On Your Side will let you know if he does in a follow up news report.