A concrete contractor owes tens of thousands of dollars to customers across the Waikato for jobs he never completed.
Jason Lambert has been advertising and quoting for concreting and landscaping jobs and using various business names, including ‘Jrok Earthworks & Concrete’, which is not registered with the Companies Office.
Fair Go has received complaints about more than a dozen jobs that Jason took deposits for and either didn’t finish or didn’t do work on at all. That comes to a total of more than $40,000 owed.
Fair Go has seen evidence of repeated delays and false starts on Lambert’s part.
Hinemanu Kelly told the programme that Lambert had used “all the excuses under the sun”.
“I've never come across a contractor like that before”.
In his messages with customers, Lambert’s reasons for the delays include rain, forecast rain, a bad cold, time in hospital, concrete unavailability and an inability to hire equipment or acquire building materials on time.
“It was just excuse after excuse,” Philippa MacKenzie said.
She calculated that Lambert would have worked “a maximum of eight hours” on her property.
“That's being generous,” she said.
In each case, Lambert asked for a 40 per cent deposit. The New Zealand Concrete Contractors’ Association advises that isn’t uncommon, but warns people not to hire someone based on the cheapest quote or their availability to do the work.
When it became clear that Lambert wasn’t going to fulfil his side of the contract, his customers asked for a refund so they could pay someone else to do the work.
In most cases, he initially agreed but then didn’t come through with the funds. Ms Kelly received a third of her deposit back after Jason was shamed on social media, but is still waiting for the rest.
Some disappointed customers have taken Lambert to the Disputes Tribunal and won, but despite being ordered to pay back them, he hasn’t.
“The police aren't interested,” MacKenzie said.
“They just said it's a civil matter, you just have to deal with it, you're kind of stuck, you've lost your money and sorry about that”.
Fair Go has spoken to Lambert and he has explained that he couldn't afford to give refunds or deliver work on time due to Covid lockdowns impacting on the availability and price of concrete.
He said he had evidence of completed recent concreting jobs and 15 phone numbers of people who would vouch for him.
Lambert has not provided either to Fair Go.