Elderly woman loses $1,000 to contractor

6:52 PM, Sep 29, 2011   |    comments
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Carmen Chavez, 73, called 9Wants to Know while claiming she gave a $1,000 deposit to Alliance Windows of Denver in April, but the job was never completed.

"He won't return my calls," Chavez said of the business owner. "I'm more disappointed than angry because I trusted him."

Chavez says there was never any written contract and that the owner even promised to install a bathroom window for free.

Two weeks ago 9Wants to Know didn't pursue the story because Alliance Windows owner Tony Aragon promised he would refund Chavez the money, even with interest, within a week.

Aragon broke his promise. 

Thursday, 9Wants to Know reached Aragon over the phone and once again he blamed the bad economy on not having the money.

Aragon promised 9Wants to Know again he would pay Chavez back, with half of the money by the end of the week.
"Seniors are from a different time when a smile and a hand shake was all it took," Allison Carver of AARP said.

Carver oversees a program called ElderWatch, a call center in which volunteers can help seniors file complaints against businesses and get help in researching a company.

Carver recommends that seniors get estimates from at least three different contractors before agreeing to a deal.

While 9Wants to Know can't profile every case like Chavez's, ElderWatch can take in calls to help seniors at 1-800-222-4444.

You can also connect to ElderWatch through this website - http://hotline.aarpelderwatch.org/public/home.html.

As for Chavez, she wishes she did her research before she gave the deposit.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't see him come with the windows, then I could have given him a deposit, instead of giving it to him right up front," Chavez said.

The Federal Trade Commission has more tips on working with contractors. You can find out more information at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro20.shtm.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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