They thought they did everything right -- went on a recommendation, didn't pay the job in full. They even had a signed contract. But they say the contractor they hired stopped working before the job was finished, leaving the homeowners without a kitchen.
Ally Shell says she hired Steven Ayala with R and S Resources to remodel her kitchen.
She said, "It was really exciting. It was only going to take approximately four weeks."
After paying more than $9,000 to Ayala, she says she was left with a mess.
"The contract read that they were going to paint the interior of the house including the trim, as well as demolish the kitchen and rebuild it," Shell said.
Things were progressing at first, but Shell and her husband say Ayala picked up some materials from the job one day and didn't return to continue the work. They told him he was in breach of contract and asked for their money back, but they say they have been in limbo ever since.
Shell said, "We're eating off of a bar-b-cue grill and washing dishes in a sink in the bathroom."
We discovered R and S Resources has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau because of several unresolved complaints from other consumers. That's something Shell says she wasn't aware of before hiring Ayala for the job. She tells us other family members used him in the past, with no problems.
Monica Russo with the Houston BBB said, "It's always best to do a little bit of research every time you go back to that company for a job."
Russo says even if you know someone who had experience with a company, it's a good rule of thumb to see if there are any outstanding complaints about the company.
When we reached out to Steven Ayala for comment, his attorney responded and took issue with the BBB complaints, saying his client is hoping to resolve them through mediation with the consumers. He also stated Ayala had some differences with Shell about the job and believed he was fired when she asked for some money back, after claiming breach of contract.
Shell says he was never fired, and she is still without a kitchen.
Ayala's attorney tells us he is now looking to settle this matter through mediation as well.
To avoid getting stuck in a similar situation, the BBB says on top of researching online ratings, ask for a list of references and be sure to check on them. It's also a good rule of thumb to make sure the contractor you hire is bonded and insured. This way if there's an accident, it will be covered.