Mesa homeowner ripped off for $5,500 by fake contractor

Fake contractor investigated before by On Your Side
A Mesa homeowner that his backyard was getting redone but he hired a fake contractor On Your Side is very familiar with.
Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:30 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — When Neal Tift looks around his backyard, he says it’s perfect. “This is what we really wanted. So, we’re very pleased now,” he said.

Tift’s backyard project was done by a second company that he had to hire, but his original plans were to use a business run by a man named Gabriel Poland. “He came out and he told me he was a veteran and Christian, and that he and his wife were just starting a family,” Tift said. He said Poland sounded like such a reliable guy so, he paid Poland and his company Poland Enterprises $5,530 to start the project.

Tift said the man took his money and proceeded to do very little work over the next 16 months. Then, he disappeared. Tift said he feels he’s been really patient after a year and a half. Turns out, Poland is a fake contractor who’s been investigated by On Your Side before. Last year, a viewer said she gave him more than $1,750 for her backyard project, and all he did was spend 45 minutes leveling off her backyard. Then, he also vanished from the job with all that money.

Mike and Margo Baca say the fake contractor took $5,000 to install fire pits and travertine.

When On Your Side caught up with Poland on the phone, he was not apologetic and wouldn’t return the money. He said, “Uh, I already made my decision, no.” Tift said he had no idea about Poland’s track record. If he had, he said he never would have hired him. “I look back now, I’m 75 years old,” Tift said. “I should have known better.” On Your Side tried contacting Gabriel Poland numerous times but his voicemail was always full, and he failed to respond to any of the many emails we sent.

So, On Your Side turned to Angi, formerly known as Angie’s List, where Neal initially found Poland advertising his so-called services. At our request, the home services website investigated him, as well as Tift’s complaint. Tift was able to get a partial refund of $3,000, although Angi never explained how they came up with that dollar amount. Regardless, Tift said he’s very glad and that he’s been told to expect the check within the next four to six weeks.