Offficials with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska, South Dakota and southwest Iowa are warning consumers to be cautious if working with home improvement sales contractor Rick Warner. The BBB says it received a complaint from a consumer stating that she had signed three separate documents with a home improvement company located in Omaha, NE., to make repairs to her home and to replace a shed that had been damaged by hail. Rick Warner was the salesperson hired in August, 2011 as an independent sales contractor to handle arrangements and contracts with the company’s customers.
The consumer provided three documents to the BBB: a job summary and two contracts. According to the consumer, they were signed in the presence of Warner. Although the job summary included the provision of a new shed and specific home repairs needed, the home improvement company told the consumer that they do not sell sheds. The first contract, dated August 20, 2011 listed specific home repairs including windows and roofing. It also stated that the proceeds from the consumer’s insurance would be used for payment. A second contract, dated November 29, 2011 was a supplement for repairs to the home that were not covered by the consumer’s insurance. The consumer paid the company just over $3,887 for the contracts.
Because the replacement of a shed was not included in either contract, Warner said that he would provide the shed, and the consumer paid him a little more than $1,000 for it. To date, no shed has been delivered.Unfortunately, the consumer wasn’t the only one victimized by Warner. The company found out that Warner had charged $10,000 for building materials and was using the business’ name to acquire an additional $20,000. Warner was fired in November, 2011.
Previously, Rick Warner was known to the BBB in 1998 as president of Classic Renovations. BBB records indicate that it went out of business in September, 2006 and the principals may have moved to Tennessee. At this time, Warner’s whereabouts are unknown. There is currently a warrant for his arrest in Nebraska involving “Felony Theft by Deception.”
BBB President Jim Hegarty advises, “If you are considering home improvements, it’s important to find a contractor that you can trust. “Always check with the Better Business Bureau for the company’s Business Review to make sure they are reputable. This will help you avoid being victimized.” One tip is to remember the rule of thirds and follow it: Pay one third at the start of the project, one third when work is 50 percent completed and one third after completion. Hegart says you should always make payments directly to a company, and never write a check made out to an individual for payment. Always make it out to the specific company that was hired. BBB has Business Reviews on more than 100,000 general contractors across North America, available for free at bbb.org/search.