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Problem Solved: Woman out $4,500 gets free generator and free installation

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Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 20:15:54-05

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Deb Wagner's call to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers has resulted in her redeeming $6,500 in value. The last time the Problem Solvers visited Wagner she was low on hope and out $4,500 to electrician Joe Shields. He was supposed to purchase a Generac generator with that money. However, in the past 8 months, all he'd done was cash her check.

Wagner called Generac, who she says, originally referred her to Joe Shields.

"They said it wasn't their problem basically because he wasn't their employee," she recalled.

She explained, “So they weren't willing to do anything for me, and when you mentioned you were going to contact them I thought, ‘Ok, go ahead, but I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere.’”

A Generac representative told the Problem Solvers the company would give her a generator for free for her troubles. She now has it. Not only that, the original story sparked the idea for electrician Daniel Rathbun and his wife, Kimberly, to install it for free. He said that's normally at least a $2,000 job. So Kimberly Rathbun messaged Wagner on Facebook.

Daniel Rathbun recalled the message to Wagner, “'Sorry if this is the wrong person, but are you the person we just watched talking to Darren?"

"I think about 20 minutes later she goes, ‘Absolutely,'" he said.

Rathbun says it irritates him to see someone give good electricians a bad name.

“Flabbergasted that someone would come out in the name of Generac and just do something so bad," he said.

But when he learned it was Joe Shields, he said it “didn’t surprise me at all.”

Rathbun says he's heard Shields' name from other customers.

“This the third one in a month-and-a-half with his name on it," he said.

The Rathbuns' business, Chosen Electric Incorporated, worked to restore Wagner's faith in electricians.

“We don’t do it for a pat on the back. It’s just the right thing to do," he said.

Wagner said, "I am extremely happy to reach out to (Problem Solvers). I honestly didn't think you'd be able to get anywhere with this, but I thought it was worth a try and very pleased with the outcome."

Now the registered nurse, who works from home, will no longer have to worry about a power outage.

The Problem Solvers never heard from Shields. However, Wagner says she wants Shields' actions on record. So she's got a small claims court date still scheduled in December and has also contacted the Kent County Sheriffs Department.

Another Generac installer, Complete Generator Solutions in Greenville, also reached out to FOX 17 to offer to do the installation for free.