Homeowner: Contractor refuses refund after arbitration, court decisions

October 27, 2017 08:33 PM

How long would you fight to get your money back? A month? A year? One retired teacher has battled a contractor for five years. She won in arbitration.  She later won in court.  But he still wouldn't pay.  So she Dialed Deanna.

Catherine Cameron showed News10 NBC the cracks across the concrete of her garage floor. She says they started just months after she had the new floor installed and now splinter across the length of the floor.

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“It's really gotten bad,” said Cameron. Five years ago, Cameron paid Rhino Concrete $2,200 to install a concrete polymer overlay in her garage. "It looked nice after he finished it," she said.

But she says problems started weeks later.  Water pooled under her garage door when it rained.  Then the concrete started to crack.

"I could not get anything through to James Boyce. He just ignored me,” said Cameron referring to the owner of Rhino Concrete.

But the retired school teacher would not be ignored.  She called an arbitrator as mandated by Rhino Concrete.

"We all met at my house. We sat around the table we discussed it,” said Cameron. The arbitrator sided with Cameron awarding her a full refund in part because Rhino Concrete has an unconditional warranty of one year. But Rhino Concrete didn't pay even though the arbitrator's findings are legally binding.

"So finally I just decided to sue him in court," said Cameron.

He didn't show up at the hearing.  So Cameron won a default judgement.  Still, Rhino Concrete did not pay.  Cameron did not give up.

"Every time I thought, ‘This is the end. There is nothing more I can do.’ Then I’d find there is more I can do, and then I saw you and I thought, ‘Ah, there's something I can do,’” she said during an interview with News10 NBC investigative reporter Deanna Dewberry.

She emailed Dewberry who then reached out to Jim Boyce.  He insisted he was not to blame for the cracking concrete. 

“We put a 3-inch overlay on hers (her garage floor). I would guess that underneath that was still moving," Boyce said.  He admitted he can't be completely sure why it's cracking.  But the fact remains; he provided a one year unconditional warranty.  Boyce, however, insists the arbitration process was unfair.

“The arbitrator showed up before we showed up and we felt that it was very one-sided. And I've turned the whole matter over to my attorney,” said Boyce.

Boyce insists he has 700 satisfied customers.  He sent News10NBC the name of one who says she loves the sidewalk he installed for her. But he's in hot water with the Better Contractor's Bureau. The director told News10NBC it has dropped Rhino Concrete from its membership.

And News10NBC has learned the New York State Department of Labor has barred him from being awarded any public contracts in the state. Five business names associated with Jim Boyce are included in the list of contractors forbidden being awarded contracts for any project funded with public money.

Dewberry asked Boyce, “Why should consumers do business with you if the state won’t?” Boyce responded, “Deanna, we're done with the interview I'm sorry."

But Cameron is not done. She says she’s determined to get her money back. And News10NBC will continue to follow her case.

Before you hire a contractor, here's Deanna's Do List:

    1. Get at least 3 bids.
     2. Do a background check, like checking the Better Business Bureau.
3.  Ask for proof of insurance.
      4. Get a written contract. The Better Contractors Bureau has provided an example of what it should look like.
      5.  Never pay full price up front.  The BBB suggests pay a third up front, a third in the middle, and a third at completion.
.     6. Report problems to the BBB, the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Contractors Bureau.


Deanna Dewberry

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