Lubbock, TX - "We would never trust anybody to do anything like this again and we sure wouldn't trust him," said Jerry Dossey.
Those are Jerry's feelings after he and his wife Susan Dossey hired JoeRay Moreno, the owner of Trim Monkey Carpentry and Design, to build an entertainment center in December 2014.
This is the website for the company the Dosseys hired and who they are warning others about.
"He told us that he needed 70% down and I went ahead and gave him a check for the 70%," said Susan Dossey.
That 70% translated into $3,270.
"Apparently he cashed the check that night and of course this was on December 19th, 2014 and so we didn't hear anything," explained Susan.
After several months of waiting with limited to no communication, the couple finally decided to cancel their order and take Moreno to court.
Q:What was the ruling?
A:"The ruling was that of course he owed us the money," said Susan.
Now nearly three years after they made the order, the Dosseys have yet to see a penny of their money back.
That's despite the ruling by judge Ann-Marie Carruth.
But, the Dosseys aren't the only victims. In 2015 another customer filed a small claims case against Trim Monkey for $5,700.
Then in 2016 a Lubbock movie theater filed a lawsuit against Trim Monkey for $12,000. That lawsuit states that Moreno was hired to do renovations for the theater.
The suit claims those renovations were never even started despite the deposit and the theater was never refunded their money.
In a phone conversation about the Dossey's case, Moreno claims it's not his fault. He said an old business partner stole the Dossey's money after it was deposited and disappeared in Dallas.
He also claims that his lawyer he hired during the lawsuit stole the money a second time after the court ruling. We attempted to verify both of these claims but were unsuccessful despite multiple attempts.
“He's not the wonderful person that he wants everybody to believe that he is," said Jerry Dossey.
To keep the same kind of incident from happening to anyone else we spoke with Grady Robertson, owner of Wood Graphix, about red flags that customers should look out for.
Q: Trim Monkey asked 70% of the deposit, is that kind of a red flag?
A:"I think that would be a red flag to me yes, yes. Because he's trying to get everything upfront and then he really has no incentive to finish the job, he's already gotten pretty much everything that he's going to get out of it....Anything over 50% down would make me step back and want to question it," Robertson said.
He also said that he typically asks for a 50% deposit because that will cover the cost of the material to build. That way if a customer backs out of the order then Robertson said he won't suffer a blow to his budget.
It's practices like this that have earned Wood Graphix an A+ rating with the BBB.
Robertson also said that 15 years in the business has also taught him that a customer should always get a time frame in writing.
"You need to have him give you some expectations. Whether it's a week out, whether it's two weeks out, whether it's six weeks out. Those kind of things I communicate up front and so if you've paid your 50% down and I say I'm going to deliver it in three weeks and you haven't heard from me in three weeks then you need to be calling me," said Robertson.
Robertson also said that new customers should always ask for references. Then once you've gone through the list do some digging to find customers who weren't happy and find out why.
Lastly, he said that if at all possible try to see some of their work in person. He said anyone can give you a picture but, if you can physically see and touch their work it will give you a better idea if a company will meet your needs.
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