3 ON YOUR SIDE: Local home buyer says contractor vanished after being paid for job
A couple says they hired a contractor to help them flip two homes, but after they paid him for the job, he vanished. Now they are out $28,000.
This all started late February when Ron Henson says he and his wife hired John White with Smart Two Buy Inc. He says that $28,000 was supposed to cover the supplies and construction for one of those two homes, but not much was done.
“This was our dream. We were going to be home flippers and it's turned into a nightmare,” Henson said.
New to the home flipping business, Henson and his wife turned to Google to look for a contractor. He says that's where he found Smart Two Buy Inc., which he says is run by White and owned by Trena White.
“He came out and was very pleasant; walked around and told me how they were new to Chattanooga out of Atlanta and just started their company,” Henson explained. “He and his wife went with us to Home Depot to help us pick out countertop colors, paint colors; everything we wanted.”
Henson says he paid White $36,000 total to help flip the two homes, including this one in Fort Oglethorpe. About $7,000 was used for demolition costs.
Work started immediately, but Henson was not pleased. He showed us the contract between the two, receipts for work that was promised and other documents. Henson says some of the demolition at the both homes was not approved.
Crew members also tell Channel 3, White did not pay them. Henson says that was White’s responsibility, which was to be done using the money given for the project.
“You couldn’t get him back out there and then it was a fight and then it was phone calls and texts,” Henson said. “Everything in the world to get what I paid for.”
Henson says White has not answered any of his calls or texts for the last week, so we called on Tuesday.
We were sent to voicemail. The recording said the following, “Hello, you have reached Smart Two Buy Inc. However, on this day of Monday our office is closed and will reopen Tuesday due to reconstruction of the company.”
Henson says he learned his lesson and will research better next time. Now, he is warning others.
“Buy your own materials and have them delivered, pay your people when the job is completed to your satisfaction versus paying upfront. If it's a long-term job and [those] men and women working for you need a pay check, do a draw system based on completed work percentage.”
We called the Homebuilders Association and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Neither had any record of Smart Two Buy Inc.
Henson says he is suing the White in criminal court. He hopes a judge will prevent the contractor from working on homes in the future.