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3 On Your Side

Couple's new home hits a 'stucco' snag

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Amber and Joe Zane hired an unlicensed contractor who they say bailed on a stucco job. (Source: 3TV) Amber and Joe Zane hired an unlicensed contractor who they say bailed on a stucco job. (Source: 3TV)
Joe shows 3 On Your Side where Gabriel Zaragoza was supposed to finish the stucco job. (Source: 3TV) Joe shows 3 On Your Side where Gabriel Zaragoza was supposed to finish the stucco job. (Source: 3TV)
The Zanes say the stucco problem is just a bump in the road in getting their house built. (Source: 3TV) The Zanes say the stucco problem is just a bump in the road in getting their house built. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Amber Zane can't believe she and her husband Joe are building a home, a home they plan to be in for years. 

"I come every day like obsessively to take pictures and drowning my Facebook page with pics of how it is progressing," Amber said.

According to Amber, the building process has been pretty smooth, up until it came to hiring a contractor to stucco and lath the house. She says the bids they were getting seemed really high. 

"Basically, it was around $18,000 from what we were hearing and in some cases a little higher or a little lower and he came in at $12,000 so it was a lot lower," Amber said.

Amber says the guy with the low-ball price is an unlicensed contractor by the name of Gabriel Zaragoza, who runs a business called Zaragoza Lath and Stucco.

Amber says she and her husband paid Zaragoza $4,000 in cash up front to start the $12,000 job.

But, the couple says not much work has been done after getting that money. 

"Yeah, this all needs to be stapled off,” Joe said as he showed us loose chicken wire on the house that is supposed to be stapled down. And, you can see the tape is peeling off too."

“So, he has your $4,000 in cash, though? Gary Harper asks. 

Joe says yes, but that Zaragoza has no incentive to return now. 

“No, he came and picked up his scaffold so he's not coming back," Joe said.

Joe and Amber say at best, 40 percent of the job has been completed.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Zaragoza who acknowledged he is unlicensed. Still, he maintains he has $4,000 worth of work and material into Zane's home and only walked off the job after the couple tried to hire an employee out from underneath him. 

The Zanes claim that’s not true and don’t even know what Zaragoza is referring to.

Regardless, Zaragoza tells 3 On Your Side he's willing to return $1,000 to resolve the issue. The unlicensed contractor has two weeks to make that happen, so 3 On Your Side will air a follow-up news report.

For now, Amber and her husband say it's been a learning lesson and say it’s a small bump in the road in getting their home built. 

“It is. Either way, we're going to make it happen. Everything always works out," Amber said.

The Zanes tell 3 On Your Side they have filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and also plan on pursuing litigation.

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



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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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