'I'm out $50,000 and don't have a stick in the dirt to show for - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'I'm out $50,000 and don't have a stick in the dirt to show for it': NC man says he was ripped off

Chris Hobbs is pictured with one of his muscle cars. (Source: WECT) Chris Hobbs is pictured with one of his muscle cars. (Source: WECT)
The land cleared on Hobbs property. (Source: WECT) The land cleared on Hobbs property. (Source: WECT)

Wilmington resident Chris Hobbs has worked his entire life earning a living using his two hands.

"Supporting myself and my family with these two hands, 80-hour work weeks so I could provide for my family and work closer to home," Hobbs said.

Building custom muscle cars is Hobbs' passion so he decided with a growing family, he would hire a contractor to build a large garage behind his Masonboro Sound home.

"We wanted a garage in the back to allow me to store some cars, store a boat, and have a workspace, and be near family," he said.

Based on a recommendation, Hobbs hired Phillip Daw with Daw Construction LLC based out of Clinton in October.

"He came out, we agreed on a price and I had him bring me a contract, but when he did, there was no rendering. It wasn't complete," Hobbs said.

Giving Daw the benefit of the doubt, Hobbs paid the deposit for the building.

"I paid him $45,000, which he listed as 60 percent down on the $75,000 we agreed on the building," Hobbs said.

According to Hobbs, Daw and his team then came to his home and started cutting down and clearing trees in November.

"Work was really moving slow, and I kept asking for the permit and renderings, and he kept stalling," Hobbs said.

Finally, Hobbs said he received some drawings from an engineering firm in Myrtle Beach, but the new project was $10,000 over budget and the building nearly doubled in size.

Hobbs said December came and went, and Daw told him the project would be complete and finalized by Jan. 20.

"Sometime in January, they came out an dug holes at that point so I had had trees, a lot cleared and some holes in the yard, but I never once saw a piece of lumber brought in by these guys," Hobbs said.

Hobbs realized he was out $50,000, nearly his entire life savings. 

When WECT reached Daw at his office on Wednesday, Daw stated, "We had five weeks of bad weather in January and February and Chris expected us to work in the rain. After that, he canceled his contract."

Hobbs said he hired an attorney because work was not being completed. The attorney reached out to Daw to see if Hobbs would receive a refund.

"The end of March comes around, he tells my attorney he can sue me," Hobbs said. "'I'll file for bankruptcy and he would not give a dollar back."

Hobbs and his attorney filed a complaint in New Hanover County civil court on April 9. 

"October, November, January, February, March, I am out five months and $50,000 and don't have a stick in the dirt to show for it," Hobbs said.

Worried this might happen to other people in his community, Hobbs decided to start a Facebook page and a website — www.stopdawconstruction.com.

"Upon launching last week, within 48 hours I had five people contact me," Hobbs said. "That's only 48 hours on social media. That's crazy. I have heard from so many people in New Hanover, Wake, Mecklenburg, Cumberland, and Washington County. There are people everywhere."

Daw readily admitted in a phone interview that he does not have a general contractor's license even though he portrays that on his Facebook, website and LinkedIn pages.

Daw LLC, however, does have a valid license.

"Chris has made up a lot of accounts of fake people," Daw said. "I am willing to do whatever it is to make it right and run my business."

WECT asked Hobbs if he made up fake people to try to slander Daw, Hobbs denied, and provided WECT with more names, numbers and emails from other's he says contacted him that were scammed after they saw his Stop Daw website and Facebook pages.

Daw said it cost him $37,000 just to clear the land, and that he really only owes Hobbs around $8,000.

"At this time, my attorney is handling this," Daw said. "Chris has started a campaign to shut my company down. I am saddened it has come to this point, but with Chris as the head coach, I can't compete with spite, but I can compete with truth."

North Carolina court records also show Daw was arrested in Washington County on Monday for obtaining property by false pretense. Daw did not deny those claims to WECT, but stated he and the business owner "would shake hands and work it out."

Dr. John D'Ambrosio with the Better Business Bureau of Coastal Carolina had advice for anyone who feels they may be ripped off by a general contractor.

"They should file a complaint with the BBB," D'Ambrosio said. "We have a department that follows up with the company, and a scam tracker on our website. If people feel they are taken advantage of, they probably are."

With both Hobbs' and Daw's attorneys handling their cases, Hobbs is starting construction on his building with a new company.

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