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North Alabama Better Business Bureau offers tips on avoiding scams after home repair fraud arrest

WAAY 31 spoke to the BBB to get some tips on how to avoid being scammed by contractors.

Posted: Jan 27, 2021 7:31 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2021 12:55 PM

WAAY 31 is learning more about a Decatur man arrested for home repair fraud, his alleged business and his past.

It's sometimes unavoidable. You're in a pinch, you have an emergency at your house and you need a contractor, ASAP. But, how do you know if the person is legitimate?

One Decatur resident called FAS Plumbing the day after Christmas for an emergency repair. Instead, the homeowner ended up calling police, saying Terrance Heath Faulks left with $340 without fixing the plumbing problem.

If you Google FAS Plumbing in Decatur, the business is listed at 1032 Fourth Avenue. Only problem? That strip mall is full, and FAS Plumbing isn't in it.

People working at the businesses actually there had never heard of it. The caretaker of the property told me in his five years there, there hasn't been a plumbing place.

Court records show Faulks wrote "social security/disability" on his arrest affidavit under employer name, not FAS Plumbing.

"You can put anything on the internet. It can all be looked up on the internet, and I think that's what's happened here. I think sometimes, maybe, if a potential victim, hopefully, they're not, would take a little bit of time. If you have any questions, contact the Better Business Bureau, do a little bit of research on whomever you're thinking about hiring before making a decision," said Decatur Police Detective Michael Ferguson.

And if you try calling FAS Plumbing, the number is out of service.

So, what can you do to prevent yourself from being a home repair fraud victim? Elizabeth Garcia is the CEO of the North Alabama Better Business Bureau.

"They have to be licensed by their relevant licensing organization in the state of Alabama. And if they cannot provide you proof of that license, then they're really not working legally in the state and in the city. So that's a question, first and foremost, ask if they're licensed," said Garcia.

Garcia says it's also important to make sure any contractor you hire is insured and bonded. She says all the responsibility is on you as the consumer to make sure you've done your homework before signing the dotted line.

Faulks is still in the Morgan County Jail. He hasn't been able to post his $15,000 bond.

This isn't the first time that Faulks has been arrested for home repair fraud. Back in 2018, he was convicted in Lauderdale County for the same thing. As part of the plea agreement then, he was told never to perform home repairs in the state again.

Faulks has been appointed a public defender in this case.

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