3 On Your Side

Tempe homeowner learns lesson about hiring a contractor

Posted: Updated:
The project is coming along now, Eric Schlaht says, because he's hired a trustworthy contractor to put down pavers and even install a little pony wall. (Source: 3TV) The project is coming along now, Eric Schlaht says, because he's hired a trustworthy contractor to put down pavers and even install a little pony wall. (Source: 3TV)
The first person Schlaht hired is an unlicensed contractor by the name of Javier Munguia Barron. He has a mug shot on file with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) The first person Schlaht hired is an unlicensed contractor by the name of Javier Munguia Barron. He has a mug shot on file with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Barron drew up a generic, handwritten looking contract, took $450 up front, and then never came back. (Source: 3TV) Barron drew up a generic, handwritten looking contract, took $450 up front, and then never came back. (Source: 3TV)
The whole transaction was recorded by Schlaht’s home surveillance system. (Source: 3TV) The whole transaction was recorded by Schlaht’s home surveillance system. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Eric Schlaht says the front entrance to his home will look completely different when it's finished. 

"Where the sidewalk starts here, that was all the concrete. And that was all gravel," Schlaht said as he showed us around the outside of his home.

The project is coming along, he says, because he's hired a trustworthy contractor to put down pavers and even install a little pony wall. The job is almost complete, according to Schlaht, which is a far cry from what his first contractor did.

The first person Schlaht hired is an unlicensed contractor by the name of Javier Munguia Barron. He has a mug shot on file with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. 

"Yea, I mean we gave him (Barron) our vision of what we wanted to get done and he recommended a few things that I didn't really think about, and I was like, 'All right, he does have a vision. He knows what he's talking about,'" Schlaht recalled.

Schlaht and his wife hired Barron a month ago after finding him on Craigslist. They said he initially quoted them $1,000 to re-do their front entrance but dropped the price.

"'Let's go ahead and close the deal. I'll do it for $900,'" Schlaht remembers Barron saying. "And, our budget was around $1,000. And I said, '$900? All right.'"

Barron drew up a generic, handwritten looking contract, took $450 up front, and then never came back. Schlaht said that is why he had to hire someone else to start the front entry.

3 On Your Side has warned you before about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors and giving money up front. This case, however, is a little different. The whole transaction was recorded by Schlaht’s home surveillance system.

The video shows Barron driving up in a green Hummer. You then see him talking to Schlaht and his wife. After discussing the job and explaining why they should hire him, he takes the $450, gets back into that Hummer and never comes back.

3 On Your Side talked to Barron on the phone and he promised to return the money, but he never did.

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors told 3 On Your Side in an email that Barron has racked up numerous complaints over the years.

In fact, three recent cases accuse the unlicensed contractor of accepting anywhere from $1,000 to more than $5,000 for jobs and then vanishing -- exactly what Schlaht said Barron did to him.

Schlaht finally had another contractor start -- and finish -- his new front entry. He says it looks great, complete with pavers and everything.

As for Barron?  He's still out there -- with Schlaht’s money. 

"We're not his first rodeo," Schlaht said. "He's done this before. He's obviously a seasoned con-artist." 

"Do you think you should have done a little more research on this guy before handing over money?" I asked.

"Oh yeah,” Schlaht replied. "That's the lesson we learned."

3 On Your Side has learned that Barron has a warrant out for his arrest in regards to a previous unlicensed contracting case.  If you know where he is, contact your local police department and let them know.

In the meantime, 3 On Your Side will air a follow-up news report when there is an update.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Recent 3 On Your Side storiesMore>>

  • 3 On Your Side

    Smart devices: Do you own what you buy?

    Smart devices: Do you own what you buy?

    Saturday, February 4 2017 9:52 AM EST2017-02-04 14:52:25 GMT
    Consumers are app crazy, and not only to control temps or lights. They're unlocking doors and maybe even seeing what's inside the fridge. (Source: Alexander Kirch via 123RF)Consumers are app crazy, and not only to control temps or lights. They're unlocking doors and maybe even seeing what's inside the fridge. (Source: Alexander Kirch via 123RF)

    "Oftentimes, the companies that make these products insist that even though you might own the physical object, you don't own the software code inside of it," he said. "And that code is really fundamental to the operation of those products."

    More >

    "Oftentimes, the companies that make these products insist that even though you might own the physical object, you don't own the software code inside of it," digital rights specialist and author Aaron Perzanowski said. "And that code is really fundamental to the operation of those products."

    More >
  • 3 On Your Side

    Did you get a 'free cruise' robocall? You may be eligible for $900!

    Did you get a 'free cruise' robocall? You may be eligible for $900!

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 11:59 PM EDT2017-08-17 03:59:14 GMT

    Information about a robocall settlement has been trending on social media and a lot of consumers are wondering it's legitimate. It is true! Open the story to find out what you have to do to get your money.

    More >

    Information about a robocall settlement has been trending on social media and a lot of consumers are wondering it's legitimate. It is true! Open the story to find out what you have to do to get your money.

    More >
  • 3 On Your Side

    Alert: 'Typo Squatting' can take you to wrong website

    Alert: 'Typo Squatting' can take you to wrong website

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 11:25 PM EDT2017-08-17 03:25:55 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Larry Lumsden uses his computer a lot and in some cases, he has to print something. "The only time I print is when I make a reservation or a tee time or bank statements once a month," Lumsden told 3 On Your Side.

    More >

    Larry Lumsden uses his computer a lot and in some cases, he has to print something. "The only time I print is when I make a reservation or a tee time or bank statements once a month," Lumsden told 3 On Your Side.

    More >
  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family
Contact 3 On Your Side