Craigslist ‘handyman’ accused of ripping off customers

Posted at 10:35 PM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 22:41:43-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Several people in Grand Rapids claim to have been ripped off after hiring the same handyman off of Craigslist.

Rodger Woods paid a $250 cash deposit to have two trees removed from his backyard.

He tells FOX 17 that he hired Troy Tewksbury, who advertises a so-called business on Craigslist known as All Around Handyman Services.

He said after paying the deposit, once it came time for the "handyman" to do the job, all he got in exchange for his money was a list of excuses. One of them was even attached to a confession.

"He had truck problems--battery starter. He said, 'I spent the money on that,'" Woods said. "He said, 'I'll make it right with ya.'

That was more than a month ago. Woods said he initially hired Tewksbury in August. Once the excuses ran out he said Tewskbury eventually stopped returning his calls.

After realizing he'd been duped out of his money, Woods said he learned there were other victims. Among them are Amy and Chris Penney. The couple said their roof collapsed in February following a brutal West Michigan winter.

"We were in a crisis situation and we were panicking and we have to fix this immediately," Chris Penney said. "So, the first thing that comes to mind is you go to Craigslist."

To make their situation worse, Chris Penney said he was leaving the state the following week, which is why he needed someone to complete the job fast. He said Tewksbury was the guy.

"He seemed pretty legit and he actually advised me on some things I needed to correct prior to actually fixing the gaping hole in my roof," Penney said.

Similar to Woods, Penney said Tewksbury also asked for a cash deposit. After paying him $100, he said Tewksbury didn't return for about a week. Even then, it wasn't to complete the job. Penney said Tewksbury asked for more money in the amount of $200 for supplies. Feeling desperate, Penney said he gave it to him.

FOX 17 Problem Solvers knocked on the address listed for Tewksbury but got no answer. We also called him on the cellphone number listed below his business, which we found on Manta, but got no answer there either.

The only place we could find him was on Craigslist.

"I'm kind of outraged. It blows my mind that he continues to advertise under these false pretenses and nobody's called him out," Penney said.

While both Woods and Penney said they've accepted they may never get their money back, they're hoping their loss will serve as a warning to others.

"Do not hire Troy Tewksbury," Penney said. "He's obviously not going to perform the work, he's not reputable, he's not licensed and he's going to take your money and run."

FOX 17 reached out to the Better Business Bureau to see if Tewksbury has a valid business and if they've received complaints. However, no one could be reached by news time Wednesday night.