After purchasing an older home that we knew had problems, my dh and I set out to find someone to waterproof our cellar. After many companies, some shady, some couldn't do the job, we came across Guaranteed Waterproofing listed in our local yellow pages. The company was scheduled to come out on a Saturday morning, but did not show. We tried multiple times to call the 800 number listed and kept getting a recording stating that that number was not accepting any calls. Their adervertised website did not work either. A few hours later a man called and said their phones were not working (did not explain whey they didn't show up) and he would come out Sunday.
That day he and another gentleman, his "Production Manager" come in and immediately start talking money. I was already a bit put off by everything, but try to give the benefit of the doubt. After seeing the basement it's still all about the money. As we have just purchased a home, we are not exactly rolling in the dough which is why were were getting estimates on the work. He says it will be about $8000 but he'll do it for $5K if we let him film it for a commercial, write letter of reference, etc. He wanted a down payment right then. He said that he would pay the interest on my credit card if I would go get a cash advance, which I refused. Mr. Long told me that this company had been in business for 50 years, he had been with it for 30. He seemed shady to me, but my husband was insistent that it was the right thing. Mr. Long never once offered references or proof of bond or insurance. He ended up asking for a $500 post dated check (which is illegal apparently) which was reluctantly written.
Mr. Long's production manager called the next evening and asked if we had come up with the other $4500 to which we responded that we did not and we want to cancel the job. The contract stated that we had three days to cancel, which we did by telephone. Mr. Long was supposed to call us later that evening, yet we have not heard from him. I stopped payment on the check and found out today that he did in fact try to cash it. A full week after we said we wanted to cancel the job and two weeks since we had heard from him.
To make matters more interesting, we had another REPUTABLE company out today, who happened to know Bill Long and actually had letters of references written about him from years prior. I found out that Mr. Long has served a few years in prison for various crimes such as forgery and theft and that his first marriage ended due to him molesting his stepdaughter. He is currently married to a wealthy older woman who is the mother of a man he met in prison. I have not heard from Mr. Long, which is how I want to keep it. I am tempted to chew him out for trying to cash a check a week after a job was cancelled, however for now it is probably best to see how things play out and not stir the fire.
My family was lucky that we figured this guy out before he had access to our home and money, just please be sure to check out contractors before giving them money. Any reputable company will provide references without question and although are concerned about the financial aspect, that should not be the focus of their consultation.