OKLAHOMA CITY - Michelle Juel is in the hole for almost $16,000 and feels stuck.
Landscaper, Justin Randolph, was supposed to give her the backyard of her dreams with a slate patio, gazebo, and trees.
He cashed Michelle's check, but almost six months later the work's barely started.
At one time, Randolph wasn't ignoring Michelle.
She last heard from him about two months ago, he told her he was "deeply sorry" and "had been very sick.”
He went so far as to reassure her that if he has to "eat some money loss he absolutely would."
Since then though, it’s been crickets.
We wanted to chat with Randolph, but our repeated messages weren't returned either, so we paid him a visit at his Edmond house.
He told us his cell phone service has been turned off for the past three weeks.
We asked him if he planned on paying Michelle back her cash.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “It was a bunch of changes, things that came up, wasn't anything malicious by any means.”
He says he and another worker spent days pulling weeds, moving rock, and busting up concrete, but health problems and a string of bad luck caused the job to stall.
“I've got the products for the pond. I did get stuck on the contractor,” Randolph said. “I'm going to have to eat that one for the gazebo, because I contracted out another guy because he would do better quality.”
Randolph told us he paid another guy $5,200 for a gazebo and that guy refuses to deliver the gazebo.
We pressed Randolph to tell us the name of the guy who supposedly has Michelle's cash for the gazebo, but he wouldn't give it to us and told us he was in a hurry and his attorney had all of his receipts, proof of the purchases he made with Michelle's cash.
Michelle is left to wonder and wait.
“[I want] my money back and I've got to get this fixed,” she said.
Michelle filed a report with Police.
Randolph says this is the only job he's failed to complete in six years and he's committed to making things right.
The In Your Corner bottom line:
- Be careful about how much you pay up front on a job.
- Hold up paying anything, until you have a contract that details the payment structure.