OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (WMC) - A DeSoto County man is out of a lot of cash after he paid over $1,000 on a deposit for a construction job that never happened.
Alan King was looking to widen the driveway of his Olive Branch home.
“What I’m trying to do is build a little side driveway, where I can get my truck out of the way,” said King.
All he needed was a contractor.
He started his search on Facebook Marketplace and several options appeared.
“I called several of them. None of them showed. I called and he showed the next day,” said King.
King says on he signed a contract on April 20, with Jeremy Lee Riden of J. Rocks Construction in Southaven, Mississippi.
They agreed to $2,700 for the job. King then wrote him a check for $1,400 as a deposit.
“He cashed it about 2 hours later. Very quick. Very quick,” said King.
Concrete for King's new driveway was supposed to be poured on May 10, but that never happened.
King says he was a victim of a scam and wants to warn others.
“You also have to remember to follow-up. Do your homework with the Better Business Bureau,” said Nancy Crawford, Better Business Bureau.
Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau suggests going online to search the company's name and follow it with the words "complaint” or "review.”
She says you should also get the job in writing and be specific with what materials will be used.
Never pay for it all up front, a third of the cost is customary.
Be sure to let authorities know if you can't get a response.
“They can go online at betterbusinessbureau.org and file a complaint with our office and we’ll reach to the company on their behalf,” said Crawford.
We went by the contractor's home in Southaven.
No one answered the door, despite the truck in the driveway.
Ironically, we did hear from Riden when we reached out to him on Facebook.
We asked when he would return Mr. King's money and he said, " A former employee stole a rather large amount of money from my company and this action unfortunately is keeping me from being able to finish the job. I have insurance and am in the process of filing a claim to get them their deposit money back to them."
King isn't buying it.
Otherwise, he would have responded to his text messages. He has already filed a police report and a lawsuit in small claims court.
“I want to see justice done,” said King.
The contractor says he has the deposits of three other customers.
He says in the 44 years he’s been in business, he’s never had to file a claim.
King, on the other hand, says he doesn’t think he’ll ever get his money back.