Contractor problems plague tornado victim

Teresa Weaver
Teresa Weaver
Steve Dale
Steve Dale
Contractor problems plague tornado victim
By: CJ Cassidy
Caruthersville, MO - Talk about being down on your luck. A Caruthersville woman says she's still picking up the pieces after the twister lifted her house off its foundation back in April. But her problems now revolve around the construction that followed the damage.
Teresa Weaver says she found herself in a bigger mess after the contractor supposedly wrapped up the job. She blames faulty construction work for the fix she's in, and now looks to the courts to help get her life back together. "We must have survived it by the grace of God," Weaver says.
Weaver and her 89-year-old mother have lived in and out of this trailer in their front yard, ever since the twister wrecked their home back in April.
Still Weaver says her problems really began when she hired ace construction. "I paid him to fix the air conditioner and get it cooling properly and do the electrical stuff," she says.
Still after shelling out $4,100 Weaver realized something was wrong. "The ceiling was caving in because they didn't do the job right. There was water leaking it was condensation from the air conditioner," Weaver says.
So she filed suit against A.C.E. Construction in small claims court. "As a licensed contractor we thought he'd do the job right," she says.
When we tracked down the contractor, he had a different story. "I did some plumbing work at the house but I had nothing to do with what she claims is not good," Steve Dale says.
He owns A.C.E. Construction, and says another contractor misrepresented himself, claiming to work for Dale's company. "He put A.C.E Construction on the paper, but he doesn't work for me and never has worked for me," Dale says.
Teresa Weaver says she hired A.C.E. Construction to fix her house, and claims she has the paperwork to prove it.
All she wants now is work done right so she can move on with her life. "People should not try to rip you off when you're going through a catastrophe like this. It's just awful," she says.
Weaver appears before a small claims judge in October. The owner of A.C.E. Construction claims he will take the other contractor to court if that happens.
With the latest round of severe weather many of you are probably looking for help from contractors.
So how do you make sure you don't face the same problem Weaver did? Officer Jerry Hudgens says call your police or sheriff's department if you aren't familiar with the contractor. He also advises you to ask for at least three references. Then, call those references to make sure the contractor you hire is on the up and up.
Another suggestion, don't pay the contractor in full up front, and don't give them direct access to your bank account.
It may sound simple enough, but Hudgens says when you're affected by a disaster. Many victims will do anything to get their lives back in order, and that can make them vulnerable to shady operators.