3 On Your Side

Phoenix man pays $5,700 for carpeting and gets nothing

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Tom Emmick gave a man $5,700 to do do his carpets but hasn't seen any work done. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Tom Emmick gave a man $5,700 to do do his carpets but hasn't seen any work done. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Don Nicholson was apparently using someone's pictures to advertise his "business." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Don Nicholson was apparently using someone's pictures to advertise his "business." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
According to Emmick, the only thing Nicholson actually did before vanishing with the money was take up and remove the old carpeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) According to Emmick, the only thing Nicholson actually did before vanishing with the money was take up and remove the old carpeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Tom Emmick is a landlord, and he's busy getting his Phoenix condo back into shape. 

“This is the dining area,” he said as he gave us a tour of his Phoenix condominium. “We're in the process of cleaning it up and making it look nice for either another renter or sell it.”

Between some minor electrical work and painting, Emmick also wants to have new carpeting installed. That's when he found a guy advertising inexpensive carpeting on Craigslist.  

"I got a proposal from a gentleman named Don Nicholson," Emmick said.

Nicholson calls his business Carpet America and claims to be a veteran on his Craigslist ads. He also posts a lot of pictures of what Emmick thought was Carpet America.

In fact, it was those impressive pictures that convinced Emmick into giving Nicholson $5,700 when he was at the condo taking measurements and giving an estimate.

That was three months ago, and Emmick hasn’t seen the unlicensed contractor since then. 

According to Emmick, the only thing Nicholson actually did before vanishing with the money was take up and remove the old carpeting. 

“So, where's your money?” Gary Harper asked. 

“It’s in his pocket!” an angry Emmick replied.

3 On Your Side got involved and took a closer look at those generic pictures Nicholson posted on Craigslist. There was no physical address or name listed, but we were able to determine the business in those photographs is in central Phoenix. 

So we went there looking for, you guessed it, Nicholson. 

And that's when we came across another one of his victims. 

“The last time I heard, he was in Mexico," said Rick Pendergrass.

He's the owner of the wholesale carpet warehouse pictured in Nicholson's online posts and says he had no idea Nicholson was using his reputable business in those Craigslist ads.  

Pendergrass says he simply sold Nicholson carpeting but nothing more. 

In fact, he says Nicholson still owes him for material but hasn’t paid.

“Do you care to tell me how much he owes you?” Harper asked 

“About $1,100,” he said.   

“So he walked out on you too?” Harper said. 

“Yep," Pendergrass replied.

In an effort to catch up with Nicholson, 3 On Your Side also went to a Sun City home reportedly owned by one of his relatives.  

However, no one ever came to the door, and after leaving my contact information, no one called back either.

Emmick says he's been duped and won't be so willing to hand money over to anyone in the future. 

"I’m a Midwesterner, and I tend to trust people. I trusted this guy a little too much and didn't ask the right questions," Emmick said.

3 On Your Side warns consumers to be extremely careful when hiring someone off of Craigslist. If they’re not licensed and if they don’t have a physical address that you can verify, don’t deal with them.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/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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