BARNEGAT, NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A retired couple who just wanted window blinds for their recently-restored Superstorm Sandy-ravaged home instead got blindsided after they gave a contractor big bucks and got nothing in return.
And when a lawyer's letter and small claims court didn't do the trick, they got 7 On Their Side.
"I cried, I absolutely cried," Sona Damergy said. "I walked into the house and was in tears."
It has taken three years to recover from Sandy for Sona and her husband John, after their little cape drowned in the surge.
After rebuilding their home and finally putting the finishing touches on their kitchen last year, the couple say they were given bad window treatment by a local business hired to install plantation shutters.
They gave a $1,000 deposit back in December to the owner of Island Floor Covering in Lavalette, saying they were told it would take six weeks for the shutters to arrive and be installed. Sona says she was promised completion around Valentine's Day, but after waiting five months, all she got was a new excuse.
"He told us they were stolen from the back door," she said. "They were delivered, and someone stole the merchandise."
The Damergys were told the shutters were being reordered from another manufacturer, but after another month, she called the manufacturer directly.
"She said, 'I don't know why it's on hold, all I know is it's on hold,'" she said.
So when the refund never came, Sona's gave thousands to a competitor, getting the blinds installed just days later. Her next stop was small claims court, and when Island Floor Covering no-showed, she won a default judgment. But still, there was no refund.
So we called the business owner on the Damergys behalf, and within three weeks, their prayers were answered and the full deposit was returned.
"Seven On Your Side answered my request and did a great job," Sona said.
The owner of Island Floor Covering said the Damergys didn't ask for a refund in writing, as the contract stipulated. But when we showed him the emails and a lawyer's letter the Damergys sent him, he refunded their deposit.
The big takeaway is to use texts and emails to communicate so that you get promises in writing. Also, make sure you get the refund policy in writing, too. And if possible, use a credit card for deposits. That way you have 60 days to dispute it.
7 On Your Side: Superstorm Sandy victims get bad window treatment
7 ON YOUR SIDE