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 scammed by con artist (not internet)

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ALittleLost
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Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Posts: 1


PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey guys. I'm sorry if this shouldn't be here - feel free to delete it.

My family hired a guy to do some construction work at our house, but he
conned us out of approximately $300. He was here for a week, but did
very little work. On the FIRST DAY, we paid him $200 to show good faith.
Every day he would come over and complain, making excuses so he
wouldn't have to work. Finally, when my dad was out buying him lunch,
he accuses my dad of stealing something (ungrateful; until he gets his
lunch) and refused to work without it.

My mom argues and pleads, but he refuses. When my dad returns, the
useless bum eats the meal, but still refuses to work (this pisses me off
the most) and by the end of the day, refuses to leave without his pay.

At this point, there have been 2 hours of yelling and my mom calls
someone over to get him out of the house. After 2 more hours of yelling,
he threatens to call the police so my mom pays him $100 to sign
something and leave because she's afraid.

So I have a couple of questions:

1. What would've happened if he called the cops? (There's a fair chance
of a language barrier. I'm assuming that only 2 people were proficient in
English - including me - and that he definitely wasn't.)

2. Which (free) sites are the most reliable for looking up a phone
number? We found him through the classifieds and I was asked to look
up the number to see where he lived because my mom wasn't sure if he
would show. If he told us the truth, then he would probably show up; if he
didn't, then he was scamming us. There were two conflicting results from
two sites. (I only needed the county.)

and finally, I would really like to see him suffer, but I know that he isn't
worth the risks, so what to do now?

Thanks in advance. I love you all.
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TheDarkSpecter
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Joined: 06 Oct 2010
Posts: 113
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

#1: What would happen if you called the cops? Well, I can't speak for every country, but here in Canada... NOTHING! The police will not get involved in small civil disputes. They will split up the 2 parties (you live there, so he would have to leave), and tell him to file a civil suit. Since he didn't do any work (or very little), he would have a hard time providing "proof" that he is owed anything.

#2. Can't answer that one for you, since I don't know where you are located. In Canada, its canada411.ca I'm sure you can find out rather easily with a small search.

And in answer to your final question; unless there is large amounts of money owed, not really much you can do. Filing a civil suit will cost money and time, which is usually why these petty con artists get away with it. Most people find it isn't worth the time or trouble to go after a few measly hundred bucks.

The best thing you can do is find your community bulletin board (most cities have an online community forum), and post a warning about him. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, ask what the legal repercussions may be before doing so. Odds are, if he is a scam artist, he won't want to get the legal system involved.

The above statements are my opinion only. (and my wife rarely listens to me. Laughing )

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Joined: 10 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

To answer the police question, if you called them. They’d probably do nothing, one they would consider I civil matter. Or two, it a small amount, and law enforcement for the most part haven’t realized a small scores can ad up.

I agree you should do something. If you’re in the US, State A.G. Have consumer protection sections. You said your parents are involved if the are Senior Citizen, I think all states have agencies to deal with stuff like. This also talk to the BBB, they might have advice.

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TheDane
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Joined: 13 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:36 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Furthermore, the amount suggests that it will be considered a trivial matter. I don't know about the US or Canada or what have we - but here in Denmark it'd be considered a trivial matter if it's below 2000 DKK (appr. 370 USD), and the cost of the civil suit can very well exceed that amount by lengths. Many lawyers wouldn't even accept cases like that.

IF, however, your contractor has a record of pulling that stunt with all his clients, I'd think it's a case for the police. It would be here - but again, I wouldn't know how it is in the US or other places.

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Connie L. Gus
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to 419Eater ALittleLost. I wonder what kind of con artist would spend a week trying to get $300. It does not appear that this person is a contractor so forcing performance is not an option. So what should you do? Have your parents work with only licensed contractors or handymen.

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Badgerbait
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

U.S. you could have called police and had him removed for tresspass if you asked him to leave. Let him try and sue.

I believe there's Angie's list, but that appears to be a membership site. Perhaps a google of you local area? I know sometimes there are free ratings of contractors in the search results.

Welcome and thanks for the love! Laughing

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Morgain Le Fay
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I would have called the police to have him escorted off the property. Of course out where I live a 9mm would escort him off the property.

When having home improvements done at your home or other site, you should always check with the Better Business Bureau (in the US) and check with your city or country for their license.

I don't give anyone any money up front for work done at my residence. Too bad if they need up front money to purchase supplies. That is not my problem. If they are legit they can charge their supplies and wait for payment from me.

And it is important that when you have work done you check with your local authorities that a "mechanic's lien" has not been placed on your property after the work has been done. Sometimes unscrupulous contractors will do that claiming you did not pay them. So save all your receipts and canceled checks.

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