7 On Your Side: Helps woman bilked by chimney co.

Seven On Your Side
June 24, 2011 8:35:46 PM PDT
An 80-year-old woman who lived alone heard a knock on her door and let a work crew into her home.

She says the men claimed the maintenance company sent them for repairs. However, that was not the case.

When she was billed for more than a thousand dollars to replace a dryer part, her family got suspicious and called 7 on Your Side.

When confronted with Eyewitness News' questions, such as why he took $1,300 from the woman, the Long Island contractor bolted.

Last January, his Bethpage-based company, All Care Chimney Corp, turned up 75 miles away in Somerset, New Jersey on Margo Hodshon's doorstep to fix a dryer that the homeowner says was never broken.

So the 84-year-old let the two workmen in. An hour later she says she was told that she owed them $1,800 - with a $500 discount if she made the check out to cash.

"I yelled at my mom because I said 'mom, last time we did it was 60 dollars! How could you write a check for $1,300 without calling me?'" said Hodshon's daughter, Cate Mill.

Margo's bill states that All Care installed a liner on the dryer vent.

According to two estimates we got from local contractors, the work should have cost just 60 dollars for labor and parts. A stainless steel 4-inch wall liner can be found for just $17 at a hardware store.

"I am furious with myself. I hate myself more than I hate him - that I could've been that stupid," said Hodshon.

Margo's daughter called her mom's maintenance company. It said they never hired All Care Chimney. So Cate confronted the contractor.

"I talked to a Mike and he told me my mother made an appointment. My mother wouldn't know how to make an appointment," said Mills.

When we tracked the owner of All Care, Michael Lyon was lying, and was pretending to be someone else. What he did not know was that Eyewitness News had obtained his mug shot from a drug and illegal assault weapons arrest in Nassau County.

But just moments after denying his identity and taking off, Lyon called 7 on Your Side. He said that he was innocent of the arrest charges, and denied gouging the Somerset senior. But still, he promised a full refund for Margo the next day.

However, their relief was short-lived, the check was no good.

Currently, All Care Chimney Corp has ten unresolved complaints in New Jersey, ranging from unsatisfactory repairs, improper installations and excessive charges. Lyon said that he is preparing to pay restitution to these consumers. He still intends to make good on Margo's check.


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