3 On Your Side confronts and convinces fake contractor to return $2,000

3 On Your Side was there to find out why Eriberto Guzman took $2,000 from Jorge Barraza and vanished.
Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - When 3 On Your Side caught up with Eriberto Guzman, he quickly went inside his Avondale home with a promise to come right back out.

“Hey! Come here, talk to me. Eriberto Guzman, right” “Yeah,” he replied. “Who are you?” he asked. “I’m Gary Harper from 3 On Your Side.”

We were there to find out why he took $2,000 from Jorge Barraza and vanished. “Did he seem professional?” Harper asked Barraza. “Oh yeah,” he replied. Barraza is currently upgrading his kitchen. He’s already installed new cabinets and hasn’t even removed the protective plastic yet because he wants granite countertops installed first. That’s when he came across Eriberto Guzman. Guzman claimed to be a granite installer. “He was a nice guy. Seemed like a family man,” Barraza said.

Guzman claimed to run a company called Limitless Granito, found on the invoice he provided. After taking some measurements of Barraza’s temporary counters, Guzman demanded two separate payments totaling around $2,050 to buy material. But after getting the money, Guzman never showed up again, and Barraza says the fake contractor couldn’t be found.

“Well, it was savings that we had. Especially for remodeling the kitchen. It really put us back. Instead of being ahead, it put us in the minus,” Barraza said.

Barraza is so upset that he printed up flyers with Guzman’s picture to distribute around his South Phoenix home to warn other people. So, 3 On Your Side got involved, and we tracked down Guzman at this Avondale home. He quickly went inside but left us with a promise to come back out to talk. So, we waited. And waited. But he never did come out. However, some heavy knocking on the door finally did the trick, and Guzman opened the door.

“I know; I’m going to talk to him right now,” inferring he would call Barraza about the money. “Well, how come you haven’t talked to him in two months?” Harper asked. “That’s not a good look for you.”

He replied, “Ok, well, I used that money for my sister. She went to jail because she got caught,” he said through the door. “What’s that got to do with Mr. Barraza?” Harper asked. “I know, but I had to borrow that money.”

Borrow money? Barraza says he’s not a bank, and he hired Guzman to install granite countertops.

“Just do the right thing and return the money you took back to him,” Harper said as Guzman closed the front door.

Well, a few days after that visit, here’s what happened. Guzman sent two payments electronically to Barraza, meaning every nickel he took was returned. Barraza says he can’t believe it.

“Do you think you would have got your money back if it had not been for 3 On Your Side?” Harper asked. Barraza replied, “Honestly, probably not. This guy, he definitely had in his mind that he wasn’t going to give it back. He wasn’t going to give it back. He had made up his mind.”

Barraza says he’s glad he contacted 3 On Your Side and says he has learned a valuable lesson. Always hire a licensed contractor and never pay money upfront to start a job.