3OYS: Shutters and blinds business leaves customers in the dark

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

EL MIRAGE, Ariz. -- A shutters and blinds business closes up shop, but not without first taking people's money.

"We moved in here on October of 2010." After settling into her El Mirage home, Virginia Mendoza decided she wanted to spruce things up a bit. “I wanted to get shutters here, because I really don't like the curtains."

So she and her husband went online and found a company they thought they felt comfortable with. "We paid him $1,800 in cash and nothing."

Unfortunately, the unlicensed contractor stole Virginia’s money and disappeared.
So Virginia went on a friend’s recommendation and hired a second company called Park Avenue Shutters and Blinds.  Promotional videos can be found on YouTube bragging about the company product. And as for the owner, Virginia says this is the guy she did business with, a guy named Chris Vezilj. She explained to Chris Vezilj how she was ripped off once and she didn't want to go through it again. “And he was like oh that's bad I wouldn't do that to you guys."

Trusting Chris Vezilj she once again came up with money this time $2,100 and handed it over to him. But just like the first contractor good 'ole Chris Vezilj disappeared with the money. “I was like not again! After he seemed so honest so legit everything." 

And Virginia isn't alone. "Here we were going to do cellular shades so each pane of glass would have its own shade." Jessica Chubirka is another victim. The Scottsdale homeowner also gave Chris Vezilj money. "The whole house with the cellular shades and the wood shutters was $3,500 and then we gave $1,500 deposit in cash."

After Vezilj took off with Jessica's $1,500, his license was revoked by the Registrar of Contractors. But what happened to him? And where's the money he took?

3 On Your Side went to Vezilj's business only to find it closed up and the inside completely empty. Neighboring businesses tell me there is a steady flow of past customers coming around to look for their money, and even say Phoenix Police detectives came looking for him.

A background check revealed Vezilj lives at this Phoenix apartment complex, but no one seemed to know him. As for Virginia, she can't believe she was burned twice. And Jessica?  She's downright angry. “I don't know if he just got so far behind that he just split, or really he's just a scammer and had no intention of doing the job at all."

The Register of Contractors says it is still investigating because more customers have come forward saying they, too, are out money. www.azroc.gov/forms/details.asp