3 On Your Side

Phoenix woman loses $3.5K to unlicensed contractor

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Itzel Abarca's latest project is her Phoenix home, and now that it's been completely gutted, Abarca’s first goal is to have someone start remodeling. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Itzel Abarca's latest project is her Phoenix home, and now that it's been completely gutted, Abarca’s first goal is to have someone start remodeling. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Abarca hired a guy by the name of Alejandro Marquez who claims to run a company called Alex's Home Remodeling. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Abarca hired a guy by the name of Alejandro Marquez who claims to run a company called Alex's Home Remodeling. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Itzel Abarca has a talent when it comes to remodeling homes. She's done it before and calls renovating houses "fun.” "It is. I truly like it, I love it," she said.

Abarca's latest project is her Phoenix home, and now that it's been completely gutted, Abarca’s first goal is to have someone start remodeling.

So, she hired a guy by the name of Alejandro Marquez who claims to run a company called Alex's Home Remodeling.

"He was supposed to do the front yard, backyard, add cabinets, trim, shelves and doors,” she told 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper. “Basically, everything. Even electricity.”

Abarca says the entire project was supposed to cost around $12,000. So, she says she gave a series of checks to Marquez totaling over $3,500.

“For $3,500, what did you get for your money?” Harper asked. "Nothing, he didn't do anything," she replied.

Abarca says the unlicensed contractor kept all the money and abandoned the project leaving her to hire someone else to get things rolling. And, she's not alone. 3 On Your Side has received a complaint from another viewer who claims Marquez took almost $4,000 and did absolutely nothing.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and we managed to speak with Marquez on the phone.

“You have to be licensed by the State in order to be doing the work you're doing. And you're not,” Harper tells Marquez.

However, Marquez only giggled and acknowledged he’s not licensed.

Following that conversation, we went to Marquez' home, numerous times. But, no one ever answered.

After leaving our business cards several times, Marquez never did call us back. However, 3 On Your Side has learned that Marquez also goes by Alejandro Castellano. In fact, he has a mug shot under that name from when he was booked just a few years ago.

As for Abarca, she can't believe she's found herself in this situation and has no idea how to finish her home without the money he took.

“You need the $3,500 for this house,” Harper asked Abarca.

“Yeah, I need it, correct,” she replied.

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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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