MUNCIE, Ind. — One woman’s plan to upgrade her heating and air system left her thousands of dollars in debt and fighting with her contractor.
A box with a heat pump inside is all Michelle Yoder has to show for her plan to install the new system, which cost nearly $6,000.
More than a year ago, Yoder hired Delaware County based Reagan Property Solutions after owner Brock Reagan responded to her posting online. Yoder financed the project and said the bank paid Reagan directly, but emails back and forth show she then struggled to get it scheduled.
“I’m leaving voicemails, I’m leaving text messages,” Yoder said. “I wasn’t getting anything.”
The project was never started and Yoder ended up filing multiple complaints against the business, including a police report.
“I got a two ton heat pump, which the job called for a three ton heat pump, and I didn’t get any of the other equipment that’s necessary to have the job done by another contractor,” Yoder said.
This March, Delaware County prosecutors filed a misdemeanor home improvement fraud charge against Brock Reagan, which remains pending in court.
Yoder’s paperwork shows that Reagan told the Better Business Bureau he would give her a refund, but also told the Indiana Attorney General’s Office that he had sold the heating and cooling division of his company and could not help her.
The CBS4 Problem Solvers contacted Reagan for comment. An attorney representing him sent the following statement:
““While I appreciate [CBS4 reporter] Jill Glavan’s due diligence in reaching out for comment regarding Mr. Reagan’s pending matter, ethical standards of conduct prohibit me from making specific statements related to ongoing litigation. Mr. Reagan has spoken by entering a plea of not guilty and maintains the benefit of the presumption of innocence. We are confident that justice will be served as the facts are presented.”Lauren Henry, Attorney for Brock Reagan
Yoder is the latest homeowner to contact the CBS4 Problem Solvers team about a problem with a contractor. Betsy DeNardi, Director of Consumer Protection at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, said it’s important to do a lot of research before you hire someone.
“Find a source that you are familiar with and you trust, and utilize that to try and get as many recommendations as you can,” DeNardi said.
DeNardi’s office received more than 7,000 consumer complaints in 2019. Those complaints go through mediation and when the two sides don’t agree, as in Yoder’s case, the file is often closed without a resolution.
DeNardi said it’s also important to get a written contract, which is required under Indiana law for most home improvement projects. Yoder only received an email with pricing.
Yoder wanted to pass on some advice to other homeowners, too. She said that if she could go back, she would have handled the financing for the project differently.
“If you borrow the money, ask it to be disbursed to yourself and then you can just dole it out a little at a time as you see that the project is underway and going to happen,” Yoder said.
For more tips about hiring a contractor, visit the Attorney General’s website at the link here.