7On your side: Substandard home repair - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7On your side: Substandard home repair

(Theresa Schmidt / KPLC) (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)

Hiring the right people to do home repairs makes all the difference when it comes to getting the job done properly.

An elderly couple is out $400 and a pickup truck but still has serious plumbing problems.

Gussie and Jeffery Edwards needed plumbing work in their house on 3rd Avenue and the repairs have not gone well.

"The deal was if you fix the house and the plumbing you get the truck,"  Edwards said.

"He took the truck without fixing their house, illegally got my 72-year-old grandfather to sign his title over and they left the house in a shambles,"

Desmond Guillory is the caregiver for the elderly couple.

"He didn't do it right," Guillory said. "He cut a hole in the wall and made his own water flow, which is running out behind the backyard."

Sewage from the kitchen sink shoots outside. There is food on the ground, including spaghetti noodles in the mud.

Guillory said bathroom repairs were just as awful and that he had to clean it up.

"It poured out into the hallway, went under the doors into the rooms," Guillory said. "He wet vacuumed it but it was still, you know, toilet tissue, bowel movements still on the floor so I had to stay over."

Gussie, 81, said that in addition to the truck, the workers demanded $400 cash which is pretty much her monthly social security check.

"I just feel bad about how he got away with my money," she said. "I really feel bad, I'm ashamed of myself. I am. And then he took my husband's truck and he told my husband he was going to do the work."

Mr. Edwards is disappointed too.

"I gave them the truck for the work," he said. "I think that's wrong."

Carmen Million with the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau said cheaper is not always better.

"They paid this company $400 and a vehicle and we don't even know the value of the vehicle," Million said. "If they had hired a licensed plumber, we don't know if it would have cost less, but we do know, more than likely, the job would have been done properly."

The contractor the Edwards said they dealt with is not licensed, though the owner denies doing the work. He said it was done by men who sometimes work for him. 

Granddaughter Shalonda Jones said she's contacting Elderly Protective Services and the Attorney General's Office.

For now, the Edwards say they've learned a hard lesson they hope others can avoid.

"Make sure that the person they're doing business with is on the up and up," Gussie said.

The case also shows how important it is to try to help your elderly relatives if they need home repairs to make sure no one is taking advantage of them.

We're still trying to determine who is responsible for the Edwards' bad repairs and who has their truck. We're told one of the men who did the work may be in jail on an unrelated matter.

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