Contractors cash elderly woman’s $18,000 check, never did the work

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 18:23:01-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Becky Baines said her mother dreamt of a complete kitchen makeover and paid an $18,000 deposit to make it a reality.

"She lived here for over 50 years and she wanted, she's always wanted her kitchen remodeled," Baines explained.

So 79-year-old Suzanne Cichon hired "Building Impressions Unlimited" on June 1, 2017. Cichon put her faith and money in the hands of Shane Rawlings and company owner Robert Dunn.

"It was just shy of $36,000. She paid them $18,000 down," Baines said.

She added, "They never started. They kept putting her off, telling her they were busy, they had other projects that were taking too long."

Baines said Rawlings and Dunn seemed to drag their feet from the beginning. Months went by, and that’s when she said her mom’s health took a turn for the worse. They got a grim diagnosis last October.

"Found out it was a fast growing brain cancer and then she passed away very quickly," Baines said.

Cichon never got to see the kitchen remodel she dreamed of, and she passed away later that month.
Baines said while she should have been grieving the loss of her mother, she instead had the burden of tracking down Rawlings and Dunn for an $18,000 refund.

"They didn't return my call. Then I called again the next week. They didn't return my call," Baines said.

When she finally heard from Rawlings, she said he lied by claiming the material was already ordered. Baines said she confirmed with the supplier that wasn't true.

Baines recalled, "I've asked for a refund two or three times, and he's very vague and says 'I don't know.'"

So she contacted the Problem Solvers. Someone at the listed business address in Grand Rapids said Robert Dunn was evicted from his office space for allegedly not paying his subcontractors. His most recent business location in Rockford houses snow-covered trucks.

At his listed home address, Dunn's estranged family said he might be in Las Vegas. Shane Rawlings was home and told FOX 17 he's been waiting for a call from Baines.

FOX 17 asked Rawlings, "Since when?"

Rawlings replied, "We're looking at... I'm not sure of an exact timeframe on it."

He closed the door without giving an account for Cichon's money. Several reviews on the business' Facebook page show a pattern of unkept promises to customers and subcontractors. That's even after thousands of dollars have been paid.

Baines said, "I don't know if they ever even intended to start work."

The Problem Solvers got a hold of a working number for Robert Dunn and left a message. As of news time, we have not heard back. We will stay on top of this.