Contractor removed from HomeAdvisor site after WBTV investigation

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte woman is out more than $40,000 after a contractor she paid walked off the job. She only hired him after he was referred by HomeAdvisor but WBTV found a history of complaints against the contractor, raising questions about why he’s being recommended at all.

Homeowner Vicky Carr hired Aquarian Contracting and Corey Ducre to complete a renovation on her home. But pictures she sent WBTV showed little more than demolition had been completed by the time Ducre walked off the job.

Carr was looking for a contractor to redo her downstairs bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

“The primary concern was my mother who is 83. She moved in with us,” Carr said.

After months of delays, excuses and mistakes things finally hit a breaking point. Carr spent more than $48,000 on Aquarian.

“I was telling him that I was not happy that it was being delayed,” Carr said.

“He became very loud and very angry.”

“And from that he stormed out of the house and we have no contact sense,” Carr said.

WBTV tried contacting Ducre by emailing him and calling numerous phone numbers associated with him. A reporter also stopped by his house but no one was home. An address listed for Aquarian on the company website was only a UPS office.

WBTV also reached out to Mecklenburg County and HomeAdvisor after our investigation revealed numerous errors and falsehoods related to Ducre’s past and current projects.

“We were searching for general contractors and we went to HomeAdvisor and did a search,” Carr said.

Aquarian Contracting was recommended to Carr through HomeAdvisor. On its website the company outlines a thorough screening process, but WBTV found numerous problems with Ducre that should have been red flags.

A simple search on the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors website showed that Ducre and Aquarian are not licensed in North Carolina, even though Carr’s project was more than $30,000 and required a licensed professional.

Records from the Virginia showed that Ducre owned a company in Virginia that was licensed through the Virginia Board of Contractors. But records obtained by WBTV show the board revoked the license. The Board found in favor of two customers who claimed Ducre abandoned their projects costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s clear that this person probably shouldn’t be dealing in this type of profession,” Carr’s attorney Morris McAdoo said.

In an email statement HomeAdvisor wrote “We are disheartened by this customer’s experience and have reached out to reconnect and see how we can help make it right. We have also terminated the pro from our network.”

HomeAdvisor did not answer any questions about how Ducre was able to slither by their screening process and Carr told us they weren’t helpful when she reached out to them the first time.

Records obtained by WBTV through Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement show that Ducre falsified the construction costs for Carr’s project when applying for a permit.

While Carr’s contract was in excess of $40,000, the project is only listed as $3,500 on the Mecklenburg County website.

A spokesperson for Mecklenburg County said the county does have mechanisms for catching falsified costs in new construction. The county’s computer generates projected costs based on cost of materials and other factors.

However, the county said it does not have the ability to screen for inaccurate costs on renovations saying “There are too many variables – the cost of a renovated bathroom, for example, could range widely depending on the current state, the materials used, the scope of work, and what materials are reused. For renovations, the contractor self-reports the cost in the process of applying for the permit.”

The county said when it becomes aware of an egregious misstatement of the project costs, they have the ability to report the contractor to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors.

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