CALEDONIA — It's a bumpy drive with Daryl Lotharius to the base of his Caledonia driveway. In late spring, a contractor laid gravel for Lotharius' new asphalt driveway, and then never returned to finish the job.
"I don't believe there was ever a signed contract or anything like that," Lotharius said. "So that might be shame on me a little bit."
Tommy Stevens of Metro Paving and Roofing laid it all out in emails, which explained the project would cost $16,000 for the driveway and installation of a culvert. Lotharius paid Metro Paving half after the gravel was laid.
"So ever since he's got that money, they have not called me one single time," Lotharius said. "I have called them almost daily."
In Franklin, Dan Duldulao said he wasn't happy with the asphalt Metro Paving did lay. He said it's so soft, he can peel it away. In addition, there are tracks on the asphalt where Duldulao backed up his trailer. To top it off, Duldulao said the job was only partly done.
"It still isn't sealed," he said. "I would have thought this was just a bottom coat."
Duldulao didn't get a paper contract either -- just promises in text messages.
Consumer Attorney Anthony Murdock said emails and text messages can be considered contracts, but the best way to protect your rights is with a detailed paper contract.
"I would always -- maybe I'm cautious -- I would always recommend people have a contract, even if it's a person they've done business with before," Murdock recommended. "Especially when you're dealing with thousands of dollars, where payments are required before they're actually going to do the work."
A contract should include:
- A time period for work to start and finish
- The total cost
- A description of the work being done
- A statement of any guarantees or warranties
- A lien waiver notice
"So everybody is on the same page, what is expectations," Murdock said.
Lotharius said he feels deceived by a quote that he said was too good to be true.
Contact 6 spent weeks talking and emailing with Metro Paving. The company told Contact 6 it would give Lotharius a small refund and Duldulao would be paid back via a payment plan.
So far, neither man has received any money.