No TV and No $$ Back

(WSVN) - He gave a man a check for a TV and installation. He never got the TV, and he has not gotten his deposit back because the business owner says he is following a Florida state law. Is the owner right? To get the answer, the customer called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

After living in their house since 1995, David Simon and his wife decided it was time for some changes.

David Simon, wants deposit returned: “It was just old. It had wall-to-wall carpeting. It didn’t have a lot of the touches that we’ve included. We had to put a new roof on. We had to do the whole electrical, plumbing.”

Today, it looks wonderful, outside and inside.

David Simon: “We love it, absolutely love it.”

All the construction went well. The only problem? The purchase of a 75-inch TV and sound system from a South Florida businessman.

David Simon

David Simon: “So he was here Dec. 26. So I felt comfortable and gave him a check for a 50 percent deposit, with the other 50 percent due on Dec. 30th when he installed.”

David gave the $2,080 check to the owner of a company called FabTech, but the TV did not arrive on the promised day.

David Simon: “He said, ‘Listen, we can’t make the delivery. There were some reasons why, but we are going to have to reschedule.'”

The next week, David called the owner to see when his TV was arriving. No return calls, but there were plenty of texts.

David Simon: “‘I can’t talk to you right now,’ ‘I’m having a very bad day.’ So now I felt even more uncomfortable. Who says that?”

Text after text from Aron Lewis, the owner of FabTech. He wrote his grandmother died. He sent pictures saying two of his delivery trucks were in accidents.

Finally, David gave up.

David Simon: “January 9th, I think it was, that [I told him] I want a full refund.'”

David went online and found FabTech had an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, in part because of several complaints from customers who could not get a deposit returned. David was told that would not happen to him.

David Simon: “He assured me that I would have money, I think it was on the 18th of January.”

No money on the 18th. David couldn’t get the company owner on the phone, so he texted him.

David Simon: “‘Aron, please call me back like a real man,’ and he took that as I disrespected him.'”

Then a text to Lewis explaining why David did not have his money back yet.

David Simon: “Then he starts quoting statutes, that I have 90 days and, ‘I am doing you a favor. Stop calling me so much.’ It was nothing on here about a return policy and 90 days and Florida statute, so I don’t even know that exists.”

After that…

David Simon: “It was crickets. I never heard anything after that.”

Never heard from the owner and never got the money returned as promised.

David Simon: “My wife and I were talking and said, ‘Why not call Patrick Fraser with Channel 7 News?'”

Well, Howard, the business owner says, according to a Florida statute, he doesn’t have to return David’s money for 90 days. True or false?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “False. The statute he is referring to deals with returning merchandise and refunding money. And it’s not 90 days, it’s seven days. The law in a case like David’s is simple: It’s a breach of contract, and David should get his money back immediately.”

I contacted Aron Lewis from FabTech.

He told me his policy was to return money in 90 days, but he would get David’s $2,080 to him after 60 days. That would have been in late February. He didn’t return it.

He then told me he would return the money on March 9. David didn’t get it.

Aron Lewis emailed me that he had mailed the check to Channel 7. I’m still waiting.

Howard Finkelstein: “David’s only option: sue in small claims court, where he will win. And one bit of advice? Use a credit card when you buy something so you can dispute the charge and get your money back.”

David will now take FabTech to small claims court to get what he is owed.

David Simon: “I wish him no ill will. I just want him to deliver the check.”

David mentioned he checked the online reviews for the company after the problems started. He was in a rush to get the TV and gave a deposit that day before he looked them up. It’s a good reminder that if you are about to hire a business, go online to check them out before you give them your money. It’s a good resource, it’s easy to do, and it could save you a lot of trouble.

Someone constructed a problem that’s demolishing you? Think it’s time to put it on a big screen? Deposit it with with us. We can’t guarantee we’ll solve every problem, but we can promise it won’t cost you anything, ’cause we’re free.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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