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Troubleshooters: Contractor takes down payment, skips out on job

READ MORE: Troubleshooters: Contractor takes down payment, skips out on job
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It's hard not to like Magnolia McLean. The 82-year-old Wilmington woman contacted our newsroom recently, upset that a local contractor took a $1,000 down payment to redo her kitchen cabinets, and then never returned to do the work.

"It makes me feel real bad. Really, really sad that anybody would do that, and then run away,” McClean said.

It was a project Magnolia McLean had been saving for, for quite some time.

She wanted new cabinets installed in her kitchen, and saw an ad in the paper for Bayview Cabinets.

Steve Morono came out to do the estimate, and she gave him a thousand dollars upfront to buy the materials.

After a month went by with no word from Morono, Mrs. McLean called to find out what was going on. She says at first he said the cabinets weren't ready, then he said he was sick, then, he disappeared all together.

Mrs. Mclean took out a warrant against him, for failure to do work after being paid.

"I just can't see how he would do people like that. I'm just on social security. I mean I work part time if someone call me into sub, but I'm just here, my expenses going on, there's no income"

Unfortunately, Morono was a no-show in court, and Mrs. McLean has now lost her court filing fees on top of her down payment.

If authorities ever do catch up with him, he now has a failure to appear warrant pending on top of the original warrant for failing to do the work he promised.

We get complaints about this kind of stuff happening to people all the time. Sometimes, the contractors are flat out crooks, other times, they're well meaning businessmen who have just gone bust in this economic climate, and lost people's down payments in the process.

Experts say if the contractor asks for a big chunk of money up front, this could be a tip-off that they are not in good financial shape; a fair down payment should not exceed one third the total project cost.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Steve Morono

Steve Morono is in Denver CO trying to start up a cabinet business. Saw his ad on Craigslist.

Steve Morono is in

Steve Morono is in Albuquerque New Mexico tring to start a cabinet bus.

Never, ever pay up front!!!

Signing a contract is one thing. That's a commitment on behalf of both parties, but Never pay ANYTHING until the entire job is complete!!! Especially if you do not know them. Most legitimate contractors don't need money to start a job. Especially for small jobs like cabinet work. If they do, they're hurting and there's a reason for that. Do a criminal history search on the NCDOC website (it's free) and check with the BBB (free also).

What a sleazebag! I wonder

What a sleazebag! I wonder how many other older people he's done that to.

Shady Contractors

If you don't check out the people working for you it is your own fault. 1/3 - 1/2 - all - it makes no difference when the contractor is shady. It is your place to protect yourself. (I do accept she is 82 - but sweety get some help with financial concerns - across the board)

Their website being down may had been a clue. Or if their online reviews were from the guy who sold it to you and worked for the company. Seriously, that took me under a minute.

Our opinion on the matter is we don't know our customers. I am not going to do custom work, pay for the materials and my guys time just because you say you have it! And if I do I will be pulling a credit check or have a billable credit card on file.

I think the red flag for her should had been when he asked for so little up front and you get what you pay for, especially WHO you pay for.

Another no cost approach

ask for a certificate of insurance at the time the contract is signed and funds are exchanged.

Seems to me there have been one or two other similar reports on this site in the past year.