CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — A viewer reached out to FOX 46 after our investigation into an unlicensed Charlotte patio company, under state investigation for fraud, to say he too was ripped off.
“As soon as you guys started flashing pictures” of owner Terence “Randy” Briel, said Donald Franklin, “I immediately started tweeting.”
Franklin tweeted FOX 46 that Briel and his partner “scammed me out of a lot of money last year.”
A contract shows he paid Briel’s company, then named Decks, Patios and Porches LLC, $3200 as a down payment on a deck and patio.
More than a year later there is only a half-built shed.
“No interior, no ceiling, no roof,” said Franklin.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Briel has changed the name of his company more than two dozen times in order to avoid customers finding negative online reviews.
Like other customers FOX 46 spoke to, Franklin said he was told the job would take no more than 10 days. He said he was given a variety of excuses including: “Two guys on the crew have been out with their wives having babies.”
“The excuses started piling up until I got frustrated and said, ‘We need to renegotiate this money if you’re not going to be able to do any of the work on any timeframe at this point,'” said Franklin. “ANd that was the last time I heard from him.”
Briel hung up when FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant called him. He did not respond to other repeated requests for comment.
Franklin isn’t alone. A South Carolina mom paid Briel’s business, Mega Decks Unlimited, $2000 for a patio but all she got was gravel and mounds of dirt. A Concord, NC man paid more than $3000 for a patio that was never built.
The BBB has received more than 100 complaints against Briel’s various businesses.
“I was glad to see other people were speaking out about it,” said Franklin. “I thought I was the only person scammed recently. I thought I was alone.”
Franklin tried taking Briel to small claims court last year. So far, Briel has not been served because officials can’t locate him.
There is a warrant out for his arrest in Lancaster County for fraud.
The North Carolina Attorney General’s office is also investigating.