HASTINGS, Mich. — A Hastings man wants his money back after he paid a local contractor more than $20,000 for a job that never happened.
The contractor, Kyle Ziegler, has not responded to FOX 17’s requests for an interview, but allegedly called the homeowner, Jeremy Teeple, after we reached out this week.
FOX 17 first introduced Ziegler in 2019, when a Grand Rapids woman said she gave him money to finish her floors, only for them to look the same months later.
“We really liked him compared to other contractors,” said Teeple, who lives in Hastings. “He was very personable, very easy-going guy, it seemed like and all of his ideas were great.”
Teeple and his wife hired Ziegler to finish a few home projects over the summer.
The couple bought their house three years ago with the intent to fix it up on the weekends and move in after their youngest child graduated from high school.
However, when that time came, Teeple says they opted to allow a contractor to finish the rest.
“I decided that I didn’t want to continue doing it, so we decided we’d move and let a professional take control and finish out the last few projects that we have left,” said Teeple.
At the time, Ziegler was doing business under the name “NorthWood Interiors”.
According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, NorthWood Interiors is not a licensed business. A second business, Lakes Finishing & Design, is registered under Ziegler’s name.
Documents reviewed by FOX 17 show the Teeples paid Ziegler/NorthWood Interiors $20,760, an 80% down payment.
“With the difficulty getting in touch with contractors and with knowing how the industry is right now with hard to get materials, difficult to get things, we though that was fair and so we agreed to that.”
Ziegler was supposed to renovate the couple’s mudroom and bathroom, install backsplash in the kitchen, and complete some trim work along the stairs and other areas of the home.
Teeple says they agreed to a start date in mid-July.
When that time came, he says Ziegler did the stairs and began the backsplash, but claimed an issue arose that supposedly required additional supplies.
“He said he needed to go back and get the tools,” said Teeple. “He told me that he had a prior engagement for that Thursday, so he couldn’t come back the next day, but that he would be back Friday.”
According to Teeple, Ziegler never returned. He also did not respond to numerous phone calls, emails, and messages.
“It was unnerving and a little panicking because $20,000 is a lot of money, and I can’t afford to just lose $20,000,” said Temple.
FOX 17 reached out to Ziegler this week in an attempt to hear his side of the story, but he never replied.
However, in an email, Teeple told FOX 17 that Ziegler had called him after our messages on Wednesday.
According to Teeple, Ziegler said he would offer his money back, but had an issue with FOX 17’s involvement.
He also allegedly told Teeple he was in jail on a driving offense for the past two months.
FOX 17 obtained Ziegler’s criminal history through Michigan State Police and his driving record with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.
None of the documents reviewed revealed any recent arrests, although the scope of them was limited to the state. It’s possible an incident happened outside of Michigan.
According to LARA, Ziegler is not a licensed contractor in Michigan. All residential builders and maintenance and alteration contractors who construct, repair, alter or improve a residential or combination residential and commercial structure are required to be licensed.
A Kent County man filed a small claim in 63rd District Court against Ziegler and a third business, Edge Finishing & Design, this past August.
According to the affidavit, the homeowner alleges he paid Ziegler $4,057 for a job earlier this year, but Ziegler never finished the work or issued a refund.
Teeple says regardless, he just wants his money returned and to help others avoid a situation like the one his family endured.
“I don’t have the extra (money) to just find another contractor,” said Teeple. “It definitely puts us in a bind there and kind of puts me in a little bit of a trust issue with contractors and wants me to go back and do it myself.”