DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - Hurricane Irma was just the wake-up call Abdon Williams needed. He said he had put off installing protective hurricane shutters on his Deerfield Beach townhome long enough.
Williams said he started getting estimates in November. By January, he'd made his pick: MillerSpec.
Williams said that Jeff Miller, the owner, came to his home and showed him samples. Williams paid him $1,840 as a deposit for the shutters and installation.
MillerSpec used SQUARE, the mobile payment processor to complete the transaction. The job was scheduled for March 3.
Two weeks later, MillerSpec still has Williams's deposit, but Williams' windows remain shutterless.
"If I cancel the job with him now and I have to find somebody else, it's going to start a whole new process," Williams said.
Williams said he's caught in Catch-22 because now his trust in his shutter contractor is failing.
The shutters and contractor are subject to Williams's homeowners association's approval. In January, the association gave the go-ahead for MillerSpec to install white shutters.
Williams said that a couple of weeks later, his contractor contacted him about an issue with SQUARE and said he'd have to refund him his deposit.
"I said, 'No problem,'" Williams said.
The refund never came, Williams said.
Williams said he was then asked to dispute the charge with his own bank.
"I said to [Miller], 'Whatever problem you're having with [your] credit card [processing] company, you need to fix it, not me,'" Williams said.
Williams said that as the installation day approached, it became more and more difficult to get his contractor to respond to phone calls and text messages.
He said his concerns grew when his contractor asked what color shutters were being installed on Miller's home. White shutters had already been approved by the homeowners association.
On March 3, the day of installation, Williams said his contractor never showed up.
"I never heard from him," he said.
Williams said he stuck to communicating via text message so that he'd have a record of his conversations.
In one text message sent three days after the scheduled installation date, Williams wrote: "I have not had any call to let me know when the shutters will be installed…What's the problem now?"
Miller replied that he was waiting to hear back from his fabricator.
Williams responded with, "Let them know you need a response by the end of business today because I want an answer by the end of business today."
Miller did not respond. Williams emailed the "Leave it to Layron" team.
"I don't know what else to do," he said.
The "Leave it to Layron" team called MillerSpec and texted the same number Williams had texted.
Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston also went by two addresses -- one noted on Williams' deposit receipt and the other from his estimate. Both were private residences, one in Coconut Creek and the other in Pompano Beach. Miller was not at either address at the time.
Miller eventually returned the LITL team's phone call.
He said his original estimate gives a three-to eight-week time frame to do the work, which he's still within. He also explained his shutter manufacturer made Williams' shutters in the wrong color, which is something he never communicated to his customer.
Miller said the correct shutters are now being remade and he hopes the job can be rescheduled.
"I'd be happy to do the job," Miller said. "I love what I do. I take a lot of pride in my work. Mistakes are made, and unfortunately, it gets passed on to my customers."
Williams told the LITL team that he's willing to go through with the job with one stipulation: that his contractor gets paid after the shutters are installed and pass inspection.
He said Miller has agreed to that stipulation, and the shutters have been scheduled to be installed March 29.
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