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Home Improvement Scam Apr 14, 2022 Postal Code 32505

Scam Type

Home Improvement Scam

Business Name Used

Calvin L. Slack

Date Reported

Apr 14, 2022

Victim Postal Code

32505

Total Dollars Lost

$500.00

Scam Description

On 11/10/21, I contacted Calvin L. Slack after having been referred to him for electrical work by a handyman doing repairs in my home. On 11/14/21, Calvin came to my home to switch out the electrical cord on a new clothes dryer we purchased. At that time, he told me worked “for the union in Fort Walton Beach”, and I asked if he could install some security cameras, two WIFI doorbells, motion sensor porch lights and also a couple of standard porch lights around our home that we had purchased, and he said he’d send me an estimate for the work. On November 17, I followed up with him to see if he had a price. He gave me a quote of $2100, which I accepted, and said he and his crew would do the work the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend. On 12/3/21, I texted him to confirm that he and his crew would be here on 12/4/21. On 12/4/21, Calvin arrived with two men, Kenny and Justin, whom he said work with him and that Kenny is Calvin’s and Justin’s supervisor at work (again, “at the union”) and that Kenny is also Justin’s father-in-law. Kenny then took over as supervisor for Calvin’s project here, meaning Calvin and Justin did the work. The security cameras were installed first. Calvin and Justin then started installing the motion sensor lights while Kenny went to Lowe’s, and Calvin showed me that one wouldn’t so that all had to be installed upside down. (I later had to remove some of the trim pieces to make it less obvious that the lights are upside down, because they looked downright stupid.) Kenny returned and got Calvin and Justin started on the doorbells, but he didn’t know what he was doing and wasted time loudly having what he called lessons for Calvin and Justin, claiming he did so all the time on their regular jobs. He also said didn’t want to “drill your walls full of holes”. This flew in the face of their being licensed electricians working for the union. IBEW is the only union I know of, it has a chapter in Fort Walton Beach, and I know from past knowledge that it has standards regarding the skills of its electricians. This was an all-day job, of course, so I ordered pizza for their lunch. And at the end of the day, when I wrote a check to Calvin for the $2100 plus a Lowe’s receipt from Kenny, I wrote it for an even $2500, to include extra for what we later realized had been made to look much more complicated than it actually was. After they left that day, I started looking for the boxes the cameras, doorbells, and lights came in and their contents (manuals, warranty cards) needed to register everything for warranties and also the QR codes on the doorbell boxes required to activate the doorbells. I found all of the boxes, with paperwork and brochures still inside, in the trash bin outside as well as the two light fixtures from our front porch that we previously installed but were rarely used and donatable. I couldn’t find the special keys to the doorbells that were supposed to be in their boxes. That night, I found that none of the light fixtures installed by Justin worked. On my husband’s next trip home (he’s a truck driver), he got the cameras hooked up and working. The doorbells would not work. On 12/29/21, my husband texted Calvin asking which breakers the doorbells were wired into, stating that their instructions said they require either 16-24 vac or a doorbell transformer. Calvin replied, “We wired it hot so we didn’t turn off the breaker but if there is a problem we will come back and see what it is…And is it both doorbells”. I responded that my husband was leaving the next day and that “Set-up requires that the breaker for them be turned off while the WIFI stays on, which he couldn’t figure out how to do; I also told him that I had scheduled an appointment with Geek Squad for 1/21/22 if he was unable to get them working. Calvin replied, “Okay, we just don’t it (sic) be installed wrong on our side”. By 1/2/22, my husband was able to get the security cameras working, which I made Calvin aware of, following up that the problems at that point were (1) the doorbells won’t connect and don’t light up to show they’re getting power, (2) the front motion sensor lights and the back porch light, all installed by Justin, don’t work at all, and (3) the side motion sensor light stays on all night long (later realized this is a feature of the fixture, burns at low wattage going to full wattage when motion is detected). Calvin replied, “Ok we’ll try to get by there next Saturday, I’ll text you and let you know the time”. Calvin and Kenny returned, and Kenny got out of his truck angry, defensive, and determined to blame me for the issues we were having. He and Calvin repaired the front motion sensor lights but Kenny refused to look at the back porch light, saying that it could be just a burned-out bulb. (Note: I later tried to check the bulb, but the light fixture was installed so high that even on a ladder I could not reach it.) Regarding the doorbells, I got my husband on speakerphone, and while Kenny was talking to him Calvin, researching on his cellphone, found that the doorbells only work with existing doorbells – something Kenny ignored when he was going through the installation requirements on their previous visit. My husband told them then to work up an estimate for the installation of additional doorbells and also an outdoor outlet on the patio, which Calvin said he could have in two weeks. They left the doorbells in the security camera box and left wires they had run from the light fixtures to a transformer boxes Kenny said were required sticking out on the side of the house at each door (photo of one attached). On 1/29/22, I texted Calvin asking if he had the estimate yet. I did not receive a reply until 1/31/22, when I was told that he’d try to get it to me later that day. When Calvin failed to provide the estimate, on 2/1/22 I texted him and told him that, all things considered, it would be best for him to refund the amount of labor charged for installing the doorbells, since they didn’t work. On 2/3/22, he replied, “Sorry I’ve been so busy but if you want me to come do the work Sunday I will be there”. I again told him no and to send me a check for the failed doorbell installations, to which he replied, “Ok”. On 2/15/22, I texted him asking him if he was sending a refund, and I also asked what happened to the chime kit that came with one of the doorbells as well as the transformer Kenny supposedly bought at Lowe’s. I got no reply. On 2/20/22, I again texted Calvin requesting a refund of the botched doorbell installation, which I estimated to be $500 ($2100/3 projects=$700-$200 allowing for extra labor required to install the surveillance cameras). Again, I got no reply. I believe he has blocked me on his cellphone.