3 On Your Side

Mesa homeowner says she was ripped off by house painter

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Karen Gregory says her Mesa home has nice curb appeal. But, she also says it's time for some updating. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Karen Gregory says her Mesa home has nice curb appeal. But, she also says it's time for some updating. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Mesa woman says a guy named Eric Charest and his son came out to her house and quickly drew up a sloppy, handwritten estimate for $1,400 to paint her home and block wall. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Mesa woman says a guy named Eric Charest and his son came out to her house and quickly drew up a sloppy, handwritten estimate for $1,400 to paint her home and block wall. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
According to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, Eric Charest has been convicted and fined before for contracting without a license. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) According to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, Eric Charest has been convicted and fined before for contracting without a license. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Karen Gregory says her Mesa home has nice curb appeal. But, she also says it's time for some updating.

”I was excited about getting the house painted,” Gregory told 3 On Your Side. “And then, it became a nightmare."

That nightmare started back in January when she came across an ad on Facebook. It was for an unlicensed painting company that claimed it was giving free paint estimates for a limited time only.

"Affordable Paint Pros was the name of the company," Gregory said.

The Mesa woman says a guy named Eric Charest and his son came out to her house and quickly drew up a sloppy, handwritten estimate for $1,400 to paint her home and block wall. She says they then demanded $700 upfront to get her job started.

"So, when they were out here to give the appraisal, I kept saying, 'Man, I'm so fearful that you're going to rip me off. And they were like, ‘No, no way ma'am. We're not going to rip you off. We're actually from Michigan too,' which is where I'm originally from."

So, Gregory gave a $700 check to Eric Charest who immediately cashed the check. After 3 long months, he finally showed back up to power wash Gregory’s house. But after that, she says he vanished with all that money and never painted anything.

So, she contacted 3 On Your Side.

"I contacted Gary Harper because I needed the assistance and I didn't know where else to turn to," Gregory said.

3 On Your Side discovered Charest operates out of a large, rural property in Apache Junction.

When we arrived, we knew we were in the right place when we saw an ad on the back of a trailer. That advertisement was identical to the one posted on Facebook.

We also discovered dozens of paint cans that have been out so long, they were covered in rust. And, a quick scan of the messy property showed dozens of paint buckets and paint supplies.

No one ever came out to talk to us, so we left 3 On Your Side business cards in numerous locations and Charest eventually called 3 On Your Side back. However, he didn't give any solid reasons for failing to paint Karen's house.

"I paint hundreds of houses. I have police officers that are my clients. I don't f**** rip people off,” Charest said. ”It's just ridiculous, you know?"

He went on to say that he would return the money, but that it could take several months.

According to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, Eric Charest has been convicted and fined before for contracting without a license.

Gregory says she wishes she would have done a little more research before handing over so much money.

"I will never, ever hire anybody off Facebook and that's for sure. And I'll also make sure they are licensed and professional because I can't trust anybody anymore. I have been burned and I will never be burned again," Gregory told 3 On Your Side.

By the way, a criminal complaint has been filed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. The agency investigates unlicensed contractors and is pretty good about pursuing charges and cracking down on them.

In this case, I’ll let you know what happens in a follow up report.

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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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