BBB: Customers Say Switzer Construction Took Money, Failed To Do Jobs
BBB is advising caution when dealing with Switzer Construction of Columbia, Mo., after customers complained that they paid for work that was never completed.
September 18, 2013

Switzer Construction websiteColumbia, Mo., Sept. 5, 2013 – Several customers of a Columbia, Mo., contractor said they paid the company thousands of dollars each for home repair work that was never done.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises caution when dealing with Switzer Construction or the company’s owner, Cory Smith.

“I just want my money back,” said a Columbia woman who paid Smith $3,500 last fall for repairs to a porch, stairs and garage. She said that despite numerous promises, the company has done nothing. She said has been unable to reach Smith for several months.

Smith registered Switzer Construction in April 2012 with the Missouri secretary of state. The company’s website lists roofing and siding work, deck and flooring construction, guttering work and kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

Switzer’s website says the company was “inspired by the ethics of Cory Smith’s late grandfather” Les Switzer.  “Switzer Construction has three goals: affordable pricing, customer satisfaction and lifelong relationships,” says the website.

Another customer from Columbia said he paid Smith $3,800 in January as partial payment for building a screened porch at his home. The work was begun, but never completed and the customer is asking for a $2,000 refund.

A customer from Henley, Mo., said she hired Smith and Switzer in September 2012 to replace a metal roof on her home, paying $3,000 in advance.  After several delays, Smith promised to have the materials delivered and the work completed by early July. But the customer said he never did the work and she has been unable to contact Smith for nearly two months. “My roof is not going to stand up another winter,” she said.

A customer from Jefferson City said he paid Smith $3,500 in August 2012 as partial payment for a metal roof. When the work had not been started several months later, the customer demanded a refund and Smith returned his money. In January, the man said he agreed to give Smith a second chance and paid him the deposit a second time. Five months later, he fired Smith again when no work was done. He has yet to get the money back. “I’m a sucker,” the man said. He described Smith as “a nice kid” but said he would never hire him again.

Switzer’s BBB accreditation recently was suspended after the firm failed to respond to consumer complaints. The BBB has made several attempts to reach Smith by letter, email and phone, but has received no response.

Mike Harrison, Mid-Missouri regional director for the Columbia BBB branch, said the company’s unwillingness to address BBB complaints is perplexing.

“BBB Accredited Businesses have an ethical obligation to make a good faith effort to answer consumer complaints,” Harrison said.  “When they suddenly quit responding, we have to wonder what happened. These consumers should get what they paid for.”

The BBB offers the following tips when considering hiring a home repair contractor:

  • Don’t make a hasty decision.  Take time to ensure the business is local and has a track record of reliable workmanship. Visit www.bbb.org or call 314-645-3300 for a BBB Business Review, which includes the company’s BBB rating (A+ plus to F) along with the complaint history and company contact information. 
  • Ask the company for references and call those property owners. Ask them if the jobs were performed as agreed upon and whether they were satisfied with the results.
  • Verify whether the contractor has all required licenses and insurance. Ask your city whether they have had experience with the business.
  • Ask for a written contract and read it to ensure that everything discussed is included.  Make sure it includes all details of the job and when and how payments are to be made.
  • Do not pay everything in advance. A portion of the payment should be made when the contract is signed, another portion when the work is under way and the final portion once the customer is satisfied with the completed project.

Contacts (News Media Only): Mike Harrison, regional director, Mid-Missouri BBB, 573-886-8965, manager@midmobbb.org, Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, mcorey@stlouisbbb.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, communications@stlouisbbb.org, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, tpc1@stlouisbbb.org

About BBB

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