POWELL (WATE) - A McMinn County fence contractor has some unhappy customers in several East Tennessee counties. Many promises were made but never delivered.
One customer ordered his fence in June, the other in July. Both have received a number of start dates and a number of excuses on why the work never started.
Both have given the contractor way too much money up front.
Vaughn Bollinger was disappointed in September about his missing fence.
Bollinger, who is legally blind, outlined with his cane where his new vinyl fence was supposed to be placed around his yard in Powell.
He did business in June with D. R. Fraley and Dixie Fence Company from Athens.
The company required a $6,300 down payment; the total price was $8,800.
Bollinger says he expected his new fence from the contractor no later than mid-July.
"He promises Friday or Monday of the next week, then that day never comes," he explained.
"The fence was to begin right here attached to the corner of the deck," said Jim Honeycutt as he explained where his fence was supposed to be installed.
The 380 foot bronze aluminum fence he ordered was supposed to wrap around his new pool in Madisonville.
Honeycutt also did business with Dixie Fence Company. D. R. Fraley signed the contract July 19.
"The fence is coming. It's going to be delivered. Nothing ever happens," Honeycutt said.
The retired Air Force master sergeant gave a deposit of $6,000. The expected start date for his $10,000 fence was early August.
"After they cashed that check, things went silent. We waited for three and a half, almost four weeks," said Honeycutt.
Honeycutt and his wife visited Athens to talk with D. R. Fraley and his wife to find out the cause of the delay. The Honeycutts were told that weather and demand for their fences delayed construction.
"Mrs. Fraley said everything is fine. There was just a misunderstanding. Everything was fine and the fence was coming," said Honeycutt.
Vaughn Bollinger heard a similar story in July when he got a call from Fraley.
"Hey Vaughn, it's Fob Fraley. Sorry that I missed you. I'm running like a crazy man today," said Fraley in a recorded voicemail message.
The message, left on July 25, let Vaughn know the fence would be up in early August.
6 On Your Side wanted to speak with the Fraleys about the delays, but found their office closed. The note on the door said they were either working on a fence or delivering one.
We called two numbers seeking to make an appointment. Unfortunately, we couldn't even leave a message at either number. Both returned busy signals.
"We have lost confidence in Dixie Fence and lost trust in them," said Honeycutt.
At one time, if a company didn't honor its contract, all a customer could do is file a civil lawsuit. Now with a tougher new consumer protection law, a contractor could possibly be charged with theft, a felony, if a job isn't started within 90 days after accepting payment.
In earlier phone conversations with Fraley and his wife, 6 On Your Side was told over the summer "bad weather held them up." They had "more jobs than they can handle. We're doing our best," they said, and "we'll get to everyone as soon as possible."
Vaughn Bollinger did get a new fence, but not from D. R. Fraley.
In October, Bollinger contacted the company Fraley had ordered the fence from but never made any payments.
Bollinger paid out of his own pocket for the new fence.
Jim Honeycutt is waiting for his money back.
"We would like to have a complete refund of our money so we can pursue a fence from some other supplier," he said.
The Better Business Bureau rating for Dixie Fence in Athens is an "F." Their membership has been revoked.
Bureau reports show other customers experienced service issues as well.
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