Kingston couple pays 75 percent up front for garage remodel in April; work still isn’t done

KINGSTON (WATE) – Homeowners always have questions regarding how much to pay a contractor when home improvement work first begins, so what is an appropriate down payment and how much money should be paid during construction before the work is complete?

A retired couple in Kingston says they paid 75 percent up front for a new garage in April and it’s still not done.

After six months of waiting, the garage in Rudy and Barbara Croft’s backyard isn’t finished. However, the contractor has the vast majority of their money in his wallet.

“It’s not done. It’s just dragging on and on and on and we’re over it,” said a frustrated Barbara Croft. “This has been going on since April. We have to beg to get people out here, to work two or three hours.”

Men did work on the garage in late spring and early summer. Materials like windows and doors were delivered, but then the job stalled and excuses began.

“He’s been giving us two weeks every time, every time I talk to him. ‘Well, we’ll be here next Wednesday, or the following Wednesday,’ ” said Rudy Croft.

Rudy and Barbara Croft
Rudy and Barbara Croft

“Then we change our plans to be here to accommodate him and he’s a no show,” said Barbara Croft.

The original paperwork from Warren and Jonathan Presley of RFG Flooring is dated April 16. The Crofts believed, according to the contract, the garage would be finished by May 16. The contract  required a $1,000 deposit and $20,525 on the day the job started in April for a total price of $28,700.

“Our kids have given us the grief over it. We’ve learned a lesson, but unfortunately, the man has our money,” said Barbara Croft.

A fair payment schedule is one of the most important components of a home improvement project. When negotiating, a typical down payment is 25 to 33 percent according to the National Association of Remodeling Contractors. After that, you negotiate two or three more payments, but never pay more than 85 percent because you want to save at least 10 to 15 percent of the project’s total cost as the final payment.

WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with Warren Presley on the telephone on September 29. Presley said he’s done nothing wrong, that he’s been working on other projects and he expected to have the couple’s garage finished in two weeks. Since that call, shingles have been put on the roof, siding that had warped has been replaced and an electrician is expected to begin his work soon.

There’s a lot more work left to do.

“He’s probably got a week and a half to go yet,” said Rudy Croft.

Presley told the Crofts to give him another two weeks. The couple expects RFG to honor its contract before making their final payment.

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