Troubleshooter: Gate not delivered

November 3, 2009 9:00:00 PM PST
A Cary contractor wasn't happy to see ABC 11 cameras on his doorstep, but a homeowner isn't happy with him - saying he's owed more than $8,400.Chad Culver hired Triangle Fence back in February for an automatic gate and fence for the front of his property. It was supposed to be the finishing touch to his dream home.

"We worked long and hard to get this house and property and get it just like we wanted it," offered Culver.

The gate that Culver and his wife designed was last on their wish list. So they decided it would be a Christmas present.

'[We] came across Triangle Fence on the internet. They had a fantastic looking website, had great references, and they were insured and everything seemed like they were the perfect fence company," said Culver.

Culver signed a contract with Triangle Fence and gave them close to 85 hundred dollars.

"The gate would be 15 to 20 days to be made and then they would come install it," Culver recalled. "After the first month, I contacted him to see the process and how it was going along, and he said he was having problems with aluminum and that wasn't anything suspicious."

But Culver said after another month went by, he called again. This time it was a different excuse.

"He has had business problems and one of his employees transferred money from one bank account to another and it would be taken care of immediately," said Culver.

But that didn't happen.

"[He] never called with any updates," said Culver. "Every time a contact has been initiated, I have had to call him."

Worried about his money, Culver contacted ABC 11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. We called Triangle Fence owner Frank Bumphus to get his side of the story. He never returned our first call. When we did get him on the phone, he said we'd hear from his 'legal team' and hung up.

After a week of not getting our calls returned, ABC 11 visited Bumphus' business address in a Raleigh office building. He wasn't there. Then, we tracked him down at his Cary apartment. Bumphus grabbed out camera and tried to pull it down telling us we were intruding.

After he cooled down, he agreed to have an off-camera conversation with us. He gave us various excuses for not completing the Culver's project. First, he said one of his employees misspent the Culver's money. Then he blamed the Culvers for changing the gate design - which the Culvers dispute. He admitted the Culvers deserve their money back, but said in this economy, he won't be able to pay them until next February.

Chad Culver said he doesn't like it, but is willing to wait a little longer for his money. Bumphus told ABC 11 that he already had about $2,000 worth of the gate fabricated. He claimed he'll pay for that and refund the remaining $6,000 or so in cash. He also said he wouldn't charge the Culvers a 15 percent cancellation fee.

The Culvers pointed out that they haven't cancelled the contract and Triangle Fence has not done what it was paid to do more than nine months ago.

Bumphus told us it's the first time he's had a problem like this.

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