CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte husband and wife came to WCNC Charlotte to try to recoup some of their deposit from a local contractor.
Mary Beth Eastridge said she and her husband wanted to put up a new privacy fence back in March. After talking to neighbors and seeing his work on social media, they chose Terry Wayne of Bluewood Fencing to do the work.
"He came out very quickly to give a quote. It was a competitive price. It was a little less than some other companies but not a red flag," she said.
The expectant couple signed a contract and put down an initial deposit of $2,500 in April. They acknowledged Wayne's team started quickly to remove an old fence and tree debris.
A change order was needed due to more debris than expected that needed to be removed.
"We paid a second deposit of $3,600," Eastridge said. "And since then, he's worked for one day in May."
That's when Eastridge said the work ceased, with about a dozen fence posts up out of the 18 required to cover the property.
"He couldn't dig around the powerlines in our yard, said it was gonna take too long," Eastridge said. "We tried to be understanding with the medical stuff with his family. But, you know this spanned over four months."
By the end of July, the couple asked to be refunded $2,500.
"We've paid him over $6,000 and got nowhere near half of that amount of work," she said.
They used a Google search to find out more about Wayne, and learned WCNC Charlotte reported on him in 2020, when an Indian Trail family said Wayne didn't install a fence for them as promised. The circumstances were similar then, with customers who felt like they'd gotten ghosted.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to Wayne, who would only speak by phone, and didn't want to be in this story.
He said once the yard debris was removed, they realized they would have to hand dig for the other posts on top of underground power lines. That would require more time and money. He said the Eastridges didn't want to have to do that.
Unfinished fence work in Charlotte family's backyard
He also said unforeseen complications, including having to bring in another dumpster, cleaning up more debris, and dealing with underground power lines piled up to add to expenses and delays. Wayne also said other personal circumstances were a factor.
While they agreed it was best to part ways, Wayne said they should have handled this privately. The Eastridges claimed they contacted WCNC Charlotte because they were not getting responses.
Now the question is: how much money will the family get back?
Wayne sent WCNC Charlotte a copy of a signed document, as well as an invoice for work already done. It showed he charged $2,000 for tree removal and $500 to remove the fence. The extra day of work and equipment rental was another $2,250. Wayne said he would refund them just under $475.
Eastridge said they won't contest it, claiming they never got a copy of the original contract.
Tom Bartholomy from the Better Business Bureau said it's a reminder of what to do when agreeing to any contract work.
"Take a picture of it," he said. "You then you have your copy that's signed by you, signed by them. Make sure that it has a three-day right to cancel in it."
Eastridge said it's their cautionary tale to do more digging before signing on the dotted line.
"We should have just gone with the larger company in the first place that had more employees, more experience, more to their name," she said.
The homeowners have moved on to another fencing company which should start work by next week.
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing email@example.com.