3OYS: Licensed contractor vanishes after taking $765 from Gilbert couplePosted:
Nearly 12 years ago, Ron and Kym Osmundson moved into their brand new Gilbert home and since then, they've been busy making improvements.
"We just had the outside repainted, added some concrete," Ron Osmundson said. "One of the other things to do was to add the blinds."
They hoped new blinds would not only keep their home cooler during the sweltering Valley summers but also enhance the appearance of their home's interior.
They found a local company online called Nu Vue Blinds and Shutters, owned by licensed contractor Kelly Budinger.
He gave the couple an estimate of more than $1,500 for the blinds and asked for half of the money upfront.
The Osmundsons paid Budinger $765 months ago and waited for him to start the work.
"We gave the guy the money. He never came back," Ron Osmundson said. "I even tried to call, pretending I was someone else. He wouldn't answer the phone. He never answers the phone."
3 On Your Side visited the address Budinger had listed on invoices and other documents, but it turned out to be his parents' house. However, that visit did prompt Budinger to call 3 On Your Side.
"Well, I'm out of business," Budinger told 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper. "I mean, I have nothing. I have no credit. I have no money at all."
Budinger said business slowed and he used cash advances from the Osmundsons and other customers to pay bills.
"That's an accounting issue. That's not a 'I stole your money and ran away with it,' " Budinger argued.
He eventually relented, saying, "It's terrible. I am a bad businessman."
But the Osmundsons say it's more than just "bad business."
"I call it a theft," Ron Osmundson said. "Somebody should be locked up."
The couple filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, which is investigating the matter.