ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Two neighbors in Roane County are fed up with their contractor for work that never started. Now, they either want their money back or the work to be completed.

WATE visited the neighbors in the middle of December and at the time they were hopeful. The contractor, out of Athens, has said several times, he would either finish the job or return their money. When first contacted by WATE in early December, he said that was his plan. But, unfortunately, neither has happened.

Mary paid a contractor from Athens, Tennessee to do a simple job, install railings down her front porch steps. Mary asked that her last name not be used in the story.

Her neighbor, Paul Manning hired the same contractor to complete a fence.

Last June, they both hired Christian Needham from Faith Custom Design to do the work. As of Jan. 4, the work is still not done. Manning paid Needham half the bill, $1,000, on June 3. He explained that the work was supposed to be done within three-to-four weeks.

“He kept putting me off for a while, then he said he got sick,” Manning said. “Time goes on, he keeps putting me off.”

There is a decorative steel-like fence in front of Mary’s house, the matching hand railings were to be installed for her safety.

“Well it’s difficult to balance-wise coming up the steps as well as going down, it’s not safe,” she said. “So, the handrails were going to help make it safer coming into my house.”

Mary’s bill was $800, she gave Needham half down.

“He has not been to this house since the first visit,” she said.

In early December, the contractor told us the railings are ready to go. Needham told Mary the same thing a month earlier.

On Dec. 16, WATE called Needham and received a message saying the mailbox was full and could not accept any more messages. Mary and Manning both received the same message when they tried to call.

“The mailbox is always full and taking no more messages every time I call him, you know,” Manning said.

When we spoke with Manning and Mary last month, Needham sent this text message:

I’m going to give her her money back and start Manning Monday Morning.

Christian Needham, Faith Custom Design

That would have been Dec. 20. However, Manning says Needham never returned over the holiday and there’s still no fence.

Both plan to send Needham a demand letter which they can do under Tennessee law if a contract hasn’t been honored within 90 days of the start date. If the contract remains ignored and legal action is taken, the contractor could face a theft charge if it gets to court.

“Well, since there are no handrails, I am asking him to do the right thing and that is refund the deposit of $400 that I gave him,” Mary said.

Needham sent a text to WATE on Tuesday saying he will have Mary and Manning taken care of this week. This is the same message he’s been telling them for several months now. Tennessee’s new contractor law is aimed at keeping folks like Mary and Manning from having to beg and plead to get a job done.

Don Dare will continue to follow this story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone.