Consider pulling plug if contractor delays over medical issues

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A Laveen woman says a contractor she hired disappeared after claiming to have medical problems. She says she struggled with how to proceed when presented with this awkward situation.

You want to be sympathetic to an illness or injury but how do you even know the contractor is telling you the truth? Remember, you are conducting a business transaction. If you're told the job will be delayed due to a medical issue, you might want to ask for a refund right then.

Diane Friday got tired of manually moving a backyard fence that keeps smaller animals away from her horses. She drew up her own design and hired JBC Metal Works to build her a gate. She says she paid the contractor, Jasper Bowman, half of the $1,400 job up front.

"He wouldn't send me anything on the progress, and usually if someone is up front with you, there will be some update," Friday said.

Jasper Bowman's Facebook page is loaded with pictures of his work with JBC Metal Works, but Friday says she couldn't get him to provide any of her job in progress. After the four-week window to do the job had passed, Friday says Bowman called about an unexpected surgery.

"Couldn't lift anything and if we would mind delaying the delivery of the gate for another two weeks and I said, 'That's fine,'" Friday said.

But Friday says the delays went past two weeks with no response to calls or texts. Then she heard from a friend of Jasper Bowman's.

"He had re-ruptured himself and he had an allergic reaction to the medications," Friday said.

When Friday asked for a refund of her $700, she says Jasper Bowman stopped all contact with her. She had a friend call him pretending to be a new customer.

"And he was on the phone, I was listening in, nothing appeared to be wrong with the gentleman," Friday said.

Friday says Bowman told her friend he could come out right away, that he'd bring pictures, that he could finish the job in four weeks and that he'd need half the money up front. That was the same story he told Friday. It doesn't sound like someone with a medical issue that is keeping them from performing work.

CBS 5 News talked to Bowman. He would not discuss the nature of his alleged medical issue but he did promise to return the $700 he took from Friday by a specific date and he did not. Jasper Bowman broke his promise to both Friday and CBS 5 News and we, therefore, warn Phoenix-area consumers about doing business with him or JBC Metal Works.

Bottom line: Act quickly in asking for a refund when medical issues cause a delay with a contractor.

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