Woman out $3,000 after contractor fails to do job

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman wants her money back after giving an unlicensed contractor thousands of dollars for new kitchen cabinets that have not been installed.

Last fall, Kimberly Penrod decided to get new cabinets in her kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. She searched Craigslist and found Jesse Marquez of A-1 custom cabinetry. He is an unlicensed contractor.

Marquez came out to the home and did measurements. Penrod gave Marquez $3,050 that represented a 50 percent deposit for kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and later gave Marquez $300 as a deposit for the laundry room. On the signed receipt, Marquez estimated the work would be completed in five to six weeks.

"He said that our cabinets would be done in the beginning of December," according to Penrod.

As of Feb. 27, the cabinets have not been installed and Penrod wants her deposit back.

Penrod was frustrated and contacted 3 On Your Side to look into the matter. The address listed on the receipt does not exist. The phone number doesn't work. 3OYS sent an email, but have not received a reply.

3OYS found one location that we were told he worked out of, but neighboring businesses said the shop closed in December. Other locations that 3OYS went to were told either he went to Mexico or that they didn't know him. Another person who claimed to know Marquez said by phone he heard he was ill and having financial problems.

Penrod said she did get a text message from a man claiming to be Marquez saying his phone wasn't working in Mexico but will return her money. Penrod wondered, "How do you text somebody if your phone doesn't work."

A-1 Custom Cabinetry has a "D" rating according to the Better Business Bureau. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors said they are investigating this case and other possible related matters in an effort to determine if criminal violations have occurred.

Consumers need to know any job over $1,000 requires a contractors license and contractors like this guy are doing work illegally. Number two, when you hire a licensed contractor you have some protection and some security. In this case, Kimberly is out all that money.