FOX 8 Defenders: Metairie homeowner left carpetless

Metairie-- Martha Guthrie hired a sub-contractor to re-carpet part of her Metairie home, but thousands of dollars and several months later, she said he left her carpet-less. Guthrie then turned to the FOX 8 Defenders and National Council of Jewish Women for help.

A professional Louisiana watercolor artist, Guthrie needs to be able to focus, but a project to renovate her Metairie home put the breaks on her concentration and her livelihood. "It was supposed to be you know a six week project, and it's turned into like a six-month project, and then the carpet really threw a monkey wrench in the works," said Guthrie.

Her staircase and three upstairs bedrooms are carpeted now, but for months what's underneath, tacks and staples, were exposed.  "The carpet was supposed to have been installed the 10th of December, and here it is March, and I just finally got it in," explained Guthrie.

She said she gave Robert Elliott two checks. She paid him $2350 last November for the actual carpet. Another check shows Guthrie paid Elliott $400 for the carpet pad in December.  Together, both checks totaled $2,750 for materials.

"He ordered the carpet and ordered the carpet pad, and then when it was time to install the carpet, he had the flu. When he got over the flu, his transmission in his truck went out, and then when the transmission got fixed, the carpet pad even though he had paid for it.. they had sold it out from under him," said Guthrie. By that point, Guthrie said she told Elliott she wanted her money back, and in February even sent him a certified letter that she says came back unsigned.

Recently, she located the local flooring company where Elliott put a down payment on her carpet.  "Through the help of the FOX 8 Defenders, they got in touch with the people who agreed to sell it to me for the balance due on the carpet," said Guthrie. She said she paid the $900 balance, and hired another company to deliver and install the carpet.

Now, she says she can get back to the business of painting.

Guthrie said she's not sure how much of her more than $2,700 Elliott paid the flooring company. Elliott tells FOX 8, all of the money he received from Guthrie went toward materials. He also says the contractor who was renovating Guthrie's home took much longer than expected, which then delayed his job considerably. Since he didn't accept any payment for labor, he said he wasn't going to finish the job and install her carpet.

The FOX 8 Defenders, who are volunteers with the National Council of Jewish Women, suggest rather than handing over money to someone to buy materials, you should purchase them on your own and then hire someone to install it.

If you have a consumer concern, call the FOX 8 Defenders at 877-670-6397.