BBB Alert: San Antonio consumers allegedly out thousands of dollars after business fails to finish promised work

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BBB has received information from consumers throughout the San Antonio area about a business that promised to build sunrooms, but has failed to complete construction.

Customers of Texas Elegant Sunrooms have told BBB they’ve been given the runaround. They claim the business owner of the business promised completion of their project, but once they signed the contract, had little to no communication with the owner.

Multiple attempts to contact owner John Hyde Coley were unsuccessful according to consumers we contacted. They said Coley blamed bad weather for the delay in their projects.

Additionally, customers told BBB that Coley claimed he has a medical issue and therefore could not complete their project. However, they were later told by Coley the company was going under and was filing for bankruptcy.

BBB did not find any proof through public records that Texas Elegant Sunrooms or John Hyde Coley currently filed for bankruptcy as of March 8, 2016.

Mike McBride of Boerne told BBB he lost a total of $28,000 dollars. A copy of the contract signed by McBride shows he paid $16,000 as a first payment, then paid $12,000 for a second payment. The contract stated McBride must first provide 40% deposit once the materials are ordered and an additional 30% once the job begins.

“I tried getting my money back, but he just told me there was no money. It was all a scam,” McBride said.

Cynthia Brune of San Antonio lost close to $9,000. Her story mirrors closely to McBride’s story as she’s also had almost no communication with Hyde.

“I got a call from (Coley’s) girlfriend and she told me that he had a heart issue,” Brune said. “That was the last time I heard from them. I talked to the contractors who did the concrete and they haven’t been paid either.”

In total, complainants are alleging they’ve lost close to $130,000.

BBB has made multiple attempts to contact John Hyde, but thus far no response has been received. Additionally, BBB was able to confirm both Coley and Tammy Gonzalez were arrested and have been charged with theft by the San Antonio Police Department. They are both currently out on a $10,000 bond.

The Kendall County Sheriff’s Department has also informed BBB there are currently two complaints filed against the individuals.

Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin offers these tips for consumers looking to hire a contractor:

  • Call for references. Ask all contractors to provide local references and find out if those customers were satisfied with the work performed. If possible, visit a completed project to inspect the quality of the workmanship. Look at more than what the contractor supplies. Ask the previous customers if the job was completed to their specifications and if it was completed on schedule.
  • Review your contract thoroughly and be wary of high upfront fees. Make sure it includes all the materials needed to complete the job, an itemized list of all costs involved, any subcontracted labor and a warranty for all work performed. Beware of high upfront fees. Contractors may require a down payment before work begins, but it should not be a significant portion of the total cost. Instead, make payments that align with the progress of the work completed.
  • Verify insurance coverage. Find out if the company is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Verify coverage directly with the business’ insurance company if possible to make sure you are protected.
  • Get everything in writing. Ask the contractor for a written agreement that clearly includes all of the project details. The contract should consist of: contact information, payment schedule, estimated completion date, materials being used and their cost, warranties, and any specific promises. Never sign a blank contract or any contract without reading it thoroughly. Keep a copy of the contract after the job is completed in case there is an issue.

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