DENVER -- The Colorado Attorney General is suing a local carpet contractor who is accused of duping dozens of customers out of money.
In March, the FOX31 Problem Solvers first got a call from C.J. Jaramillo, a mother in Thornton who said she paid a company that goes by Alex Carpets and Budget Flooring for new carpet and padding for several rooms in her home.
She provided a signed contract and bank statements showing she paid a $300 deposit.
Jaramillo said the carpet company’s owner, Alex Javalera, cashed the checks, stopped answering her calls and disappeared.
Hours after the Problem Solvers contacted Javalera, a carpet installer showed up at Jaramillo’s house with carpet. The only problem was, it was only enough for one room, didn’t include padding and Jaramillo said it is lower quality than what she ordered.
“That’s not what I wanted at all. I wanted stain guard and that’s not what I have,” she said.
Since then, three other customers have contacted the Problem Solvers with similar issues, including an 86-year-old man who paid $220 for carpet and received nothing in return.
The Better Business Bureau of Denver turned up two dozen similar complaints against Alex Carpets and an “F” rating.
A FOX31 producer called him to come out for a quote, and the Problem Solvers asked if he is taking people's money and not doing the work.
“No. We’re doing a lot of work. And we’re doing a lot of installations and everything,” Javalera said.
The Problem Solvers asked him to explain why there are at least 24 complaints from customers who say Alex Carpets took their money and did not complete the work as promised.
“That’s not correct at all,” Javalera said.
According to a lawsuit filed against him by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, there are more than 60 customers who say they’ve been cheated.
The lawsuit alleges Javalera has made at least $67,000 by “deceiving consumers into making deposit payments for substandard products and non-existent services.”
The lawsuit said Javalera inherited Budget Flooring from his father, who used to run a legitimate business. According to the lawsuit, Javalera gets business using recommendations from his father’s past customers.
The lawsuit also accuses Alex Carpets and Budget Flooring of attempting “to install carpet that is used, deteriorated or of lesser value” in homes.
The Problem Solvers asked Javalera about Jaramillo’s carpet.
"She was making a big deal out of nothing on that one," he said. "I remember her because you had called me and she said that the carpet wasn’t the right stuff and I remember that it totally was.”
A month before the Problem Solvers met with Javalera, the Attorney General’s Office asked a judge to order him to stop doing business.
Several other customers have reached out to the Problem Solvers recently to say they are filing cases against Javalera in small claims court.
They said they might need to schedule another appointment with him, not to buy carpet, but to serve him with court documents.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you do some research. Check their rating with the BBB, reviews online and don’t pay money up front.