Dreams of a repaired chimney go up in smoke for an Independence couple

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The chimney at David and Iris Harris' home has seen better days. Bricks decay and flake away. When the couple decided to get it repaired, they called an ad in their local yellow pages.

"He came right out after we called him the first time and he was very upbeat," recalls Iris Harris.  

The owner of Chimneys and More, Charles Ford, wrote a proposal. He would remove and rebuild the deteriorating bricks for $1,800. The Harris' paid him half the money up front.  That was April 8 th

When asked what has been done since then, Iris Harris said, "Nothing!   Phone calls, promises, (he) didn't show up.  Another phone call, I'll be there Saturday." 

The couple believes they called Ford at least ten time. They continue to wait for something to be done. 

"(I) had no idea what you could do but Call For Action. We were hoping to get action," said David Harris.      

Call for Action's Keith King talked to Ford about the project.

"Suppose to start it yesterday," Ford said. "Had a very bad day, truck break down. Ready to go."

But King spoke to Ford 11 days before their face-to-face meeting. He promised to have the Harris job done in a few days. Now, weeks later, the job is still not done. 

"I've done nothing wrong," Ford said before ordering King off his property. 

At this point, the Harris' just want their $900 back. Ford said he will pay them. They continue to wait for their money. 

They describe this experience as exasperating.

Tips for hiring a contractor:

1)    Before hiring a contractor, try to get several bids in writing.  

2)     Ask for several references and contact them to ask questions about their experience.

3)     If they ask for a deposit up front, try to negotiate with them.   If money is needed to purchase supplies, consider paying the supplier directly.


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