KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville fence contractor will soon be learning that he's being charged with a crime for not finishing his work.
One homeowner tried repeatedly to have the contractor return with no success.
Not too many years ago, if a contractor started a job, but quit without finishing, your only recourse was civil action.
But a state law that passed a few years ago says with the help of police you can file criminal charges and that's exactly what one Knoxville woman has done.
At the end of October, Nancy Douglas and her husband hired L&M Fence Company, but to this day, only a portion of her back yard is fenced in. (L&M Fence Company is in no way related to L&M Iron Company or L&M Home Improvement, two different and unrelated Knoxville contractors.)
The rest of it is a mess. A broken and dangerous fence post was left behind and piles of wood are scattered throughout the property.
"He said he could use some of the old wood and would use new wood. He did this much of the fence, took down all the old wood, took $1100 and disappeared," Douglas said.
The total charge was $1500. What work was completed is shoddy.
"This wood is flopping in the breeze," she said.
In another part of the fence, the spacing is off.
Some of the posts that were installed aren't straight. Also, the height of the fence compared to the height of the gate is not even.
"This probably took him three weeks and then he quit," she said."
Before he quit, the contractor dug holes but never put in posts. He left behind old posts, removed the slats and took with him all the good wood.
Nancy says the contractor told her he could get $250 for the fence slats.
"Took the wood, put it in his truck and drove off. That was the last time we saw him," Douglas remembered.
The contractor's name is Terry Lynn Morgan. Douglas identified him out of a photo line up after filing a police report. They have the authority to charge Morgan
Because state law says if a contractor starts a job, but doesn't finish it within a reasonable amount of time, the police can file charges.
"They are contacting him and telling him he has a deadline to return the money or we will sign a warrant to prosecute," Douglas said.
She plans to do just that if he doesn't pay up.
"We had faith in him. We trusted in him, he took our money. And it's expensive. It took everything we could gather to have this fence done," she said.
After measuring her yard and coming up with an estimate, Douglas is going to go ahead with a new fence from one of Knoxville's more reliable contractors.
Terry Morgan ignored our calls for comment, but as a result of the case, he has been charged with theft.
If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.