Another Universal Group customer calls Local 10 after work not completed at home

Christine Williams says she paid thousands of dollars for carport in January


DAVIE, Fla. – All Christine Williams wanted was a carport.

"I just got it," she said, referring to her candy-apple red Camaro. "I wanted to keep it nice."

Williams told the Leave it to Layron team she hired Universal Group Inc., a construction company she said she'd used before. 

"I thought I was just calling a friend that was fantastic with me up until now," she said.

Williams signed the contract Jan. 29 and paid $4,000 in cash as a down payment for the carport.

A permit was pulled for the project in July. Concrete footings were poured a few weeks later.

Williams wrote her contractor another check for $1,776 in August and then a third check for $2,750 in September. 

Williams called the LITL team in early October. She'd not been able to get through to her contractor and she was still without a carport. 

She played a voicemail she'd saved from Angel Banos, a project manager with Universal Group. The message was left on her phone Oct. 7.  

"Sorry about Friday," Banos said in the message. "We are going to be there, first thing tomorrow morning." No one ever showed.

Williams told us about one previous conversation she had with Banos, where she said he told her to be patient.

"I said, 'Gosh. Since January, I've been patient," she said. "You've insulted me, you scream at me, you took my money and I don't have a carport."

Williams' problem sounded a lot like the issue a different Universal Group customer was having with the company.

"Once again, it had to take you guys to come out here for them to do their job," Cheryl Perez said.

In 2015, Perez hired Universal to install a new roof on her Pembroke Pines home. She called Local 10 when she could not get the roofing contractor to come finish the job. Perez's situation became even more urgent when heavy rain ultimately led to the collapse of a portion of her ceiling.

Universal sent a crew to Perez's home after Local 10 News contacted the company.

Perez recently reached out to the LITL team for help dealing with her roofing contractor again after her rook sprung a leak in August and she could not get anyone to respond to her calls.

We contacted the company and a crew, including the owner, showed up the next day to repair Perez's roof.

Later that day, the LITL team received Williams' message about her long-awaited carport.

The LITL team again reached out to the company and spoke with Banos. 

"Is it taking a little long? Yes it is," Banos said. "I understand, and I understand her frustration and I apologize for the delay."

Banos said issues with the plans and revisions, along with changes to city codes and the permit-approval process were partly to blame for the holdup.

"I don't like giving excuses," he said. "I like talking facts. The fact that I'm going to do [Williams'] job. It's going to get done, and it's going to pass inspection. That's going to happen and it's going up, today. I'm wrong about taking a little longer than normal." 

When the LITL team stopped by Williams' home three days later, the carport she'd spent nearly a year waiting to be installed was hours from being finished.

"[I] just thank you, so much," she said. "Channel 10's been a great help."

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