3 On Your Side

Frustrated homeowner turns to 3 On Your Side for $1,600 refund

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Tamara Bricketto gave an unlicensed contractor $1,600 to do some upgrades to her backyard but he never started the work. (Source: 3TV) Tamara Bricketto gave an unlicensed contractor $1,600 to do some upgrades to her backyard but he never started the work. (Source: 3TV)
Bricketto was upset when there was no work done and wanted her money back. (Source: 3TV) Bricketto was upset when there was no work done and wanted her money back. (Source: 3TV)
Larry Dustin claimed he's always been willing to return the $1,600 and was somewhat bitter that Bricketto posted that negative review online. (Source: 3TV) Larry Dustin claimed he's always been willing to return the $1,600 and was somewhat bitter that Bricketto posted that negative review online. (Source: 3TV)
Dustin gave 3 On Your Side a cashier's check for $1,600 to hand-deliver to Bricketto. (Source: 3TV) Dustin gave 3 On Your Side a cashier's check for $1,600 to hand-deliver to Bricketto. (Source: 3TV)
Bricketto got his $1,600 back thanks to 3 On Your Side. (Source: 3TV) Bricketto got his $1,600 back thanks to 3 On Your Side. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Tamara Bricketto will be the first to tell you that her backyard needs a little work.

"All of this was going to be all grass," Bricketto said as she showed us around her backyard. "I'm trying to make my house look nice. That's what I'm doing because when I moved in here this house was like nothing."

So, back in May, she went to a referral website called Thumbtack and wound up hiring a company called LDustin Landscape and Design to do some work.

“I hired someone and he was supposed to put grass into my backyard," Bricketto said.

The someone she's talking about is Larry Dustin, an unlicensed contractor who runs LDustin Landscaping.

According to an invoice he wrote up, Dustin would not only put in sod, but he would also install an irrigation system in Bricketto’s backyard for a total cost of just under $3,200.

To get things started, Bricketto gave Dustin this check for $1,600. That was nearly three months ago, and her backyard hasn’t been touched.

"So, he's had my money since May 17, and I have nothing," the senior citizen said.

Bricketto says she was given all kinds of excuses for the three-month delay and then she says all communication stopped.

"I just want my money back. Give back my money and I'll find someone else," Bricketto said.

Frustrated, she went back to that referral website and left a rather negative and nasty review about LDustin Landscape and Design.

But, her money still wasn't returned. So, she had an attorney write this letter demanding that LDustin Landscape and Design return her money. When it wasn't, she turned to 3 On Your Side.

"I can't win. You know, I'm 77 years old and I need help,” she said.

3 On Your Side spoke with Dustin over the phone, and he invited us to his Gilbert home to explain the situation. So, we made an appointment and went to his home.

“Hi Larry, I’m Gary Harper, how are you?" Gary Harper said.

"Nice to meet you," Dustin said.

Inside, Dustin acknowledged that he is unlicensed but showed us paperwork indicating he's trying to obtain a license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

He also claimed he's always been willing to return the $1,600 and was somewhat bitter that Bricketto posted that negative review online. Dustin explained that he told Bricketto as soon as she removed the review, he would return her money.

"That's all I was trying to do. You know, if you get smacked in the face, are you going to smack back or take it?" he told 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper.

Regardless, Dustin said he just wants this problem to go away and move on. So, he gave 3 On Your Side a cashier's check for $1,600 to hand-deliver to Bricketto, and we did. It's money that she says she never thought she would see again.

"You're great. You guys are great!” she said smiling. “I don't know how else to say thank you and that you guys are great. You're great."

This is a good reminder to try to avoid handing over any money up front for a project. There’s just too much risk. If the company or person you’re considering hiring insists, try going to another company.

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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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