Stop self-called "handymen" from scamming people
Stop self-called "handymen" from scamming people
I hired a man named Rene Diaz Sr to do home repairs back in 2016. I paid for all the materials with my credit card and paid him in cash for labor. This man did not do any of the repairs he was paid to do. He trashed my house, leaving beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere. He said he had a "crew", which I later found out consisted of sketchy individuals who randomly showed up at my house. Since I was a single mom, I had to ask Rene to please stop all these strange men from coming in and out of my home. I was actually afraid of some of these men's appearances and demeanor. I continued to trust Rene because we had been neighbors for several years. Our sons were childhood friends. I regret thinking any of those things would make him trustworthy.
The painting of the walls was subpar, at best. He failed to remove the old paint from all my baseboards and trimmings, so the new paint I bought for him to use went to waste. It bubbled and was easily peeled off by just gently pulling at the defects. The electrical fixtures that I bought as upgrades for him to install were not left in working order. When Rene told me he had "an electrician" in his crew, I would have never guessed he was referring to his teenage son. I came home from work one day, while they were working on my house, to find my AC was not cooling. Rene said it was due to the doors and windows being open so that the paint could dry. That was a false statement. I later found out my house could've literally burned to the ground by what they did. They had gone up into my attic and somehow wired my doorbell (another item he was paid to fix) with an electrical cord from an old floor lamp, and used this cord so the doorbell rang. I only found out about this because I heard a loud, vibrating, almost "humming" sound coming from the ceiling above my master bedroom. Rene denied anything being wrong. I demanded that he went up to the attic with me and show me what exactly they did to "fix the doorbell". It was at this moment that the noise stopped and my AC kicked back on again. I told him to cease from touching anything electrical from this point forward.
At the end of him "finishing his work", I confronted him about all the problems I had with the poor quality of his work and pending repairs he never even started. He responded that I should be grateful for the short time it took for the indoor painting he did. He said, "it would've taken other people way longer." I was furious and heartbroken because he refused to acknowledge he failed to render the services he agreed to do in my home. He stopped answering the phone and didn't return my calls. I had a mutual friend (the woman who referred him to me and referred him to many other homeowners in Seabrook and surrounding areas) call him and confront him about running off with my money and leaving my home in worse shape than it was in before he "worked" on it. He said he would meet her, at my house, the following Monday (3 days after he claimed that he finished my home repairs) to discuss a plan for him to finish the repairs. I spent most of that weekend tagging, with blue painters tape, all the defects that he needed to fix. I took off work on that Monday, since I was scheduled to work a full shift as a nurse in a nearby hospital's operating room. He never showed up. He never called. We left multiple voicemails and sent numerous text messages; all which were ignored and never answered.
After all of these events occurred, I posted pictures of the "work" he did on facebook, warning others to stay clear of this individual, since he was known around town for being a self-proclaimed "handyman". I posted them on the Facebook local groups in which I knew he advertised his services. As a result of my post, more people came forward and admitted having been victims of him too. The administrators of those groups banned him from such groups.
I had to hire another contractor and save up twice the cash I paid this man to have my home repairs done. It was a nightmare having to go through the helplessness and guilt of being scammed, but it was much harder and painful to be reminded of his crime every day I walked into my house until I saved enough money to fix it. I felt like a complete fool.
Sadly, I recently heard reports that this man, Rene Diaz Sr, continues to take advantage of others. Three days ago, on June 3rd, 2019, I reposted on Facebook my original post of 2016. I was determined to get the word out about this scam-artist, and thief, to as many people as possible. I hoped to save others the heartache and hassle that I experienced by hiring him. Sadly, in less than three full days, there are now FIFTEEN PEOPLE (so far, and counting) that have come forward with similar testimonies from being scammed by this man. Apparently, since he was banned from the Facebook groups, he started a page called "Handyman Hookup" on Facebook where he continues to advertise himself.
To my knowledge, he does not have a contractor's license. For this reason, I have been unable to report him to the BBB. Most of the people I've found on Facebook, with similar stories from being scammed by this man, are embarrassed and ashamed because they were taken advantage of. Others are hesitant to speak out because they are his current neighbors. Yes, it is hard to publicly admit that someone made a fool out of you. However, I'm willing to be judged and scrutinized for my "poor judgement" if it means that this man is stopped from hurting other innocent people. I've recently learned that he preyed on Hurricane Harvey victims as well!! Something has to be done about this!!!
I am a Registered Nurse, with almost twenty-two years of experience. I am an educated single woman, who raised a, now 22 year-old, son by herself. He will graduate from Corpus Christi A&M University at the end of this year. I am, by no means, a naive or ignorant person. As a single woman, and mother, I quickly learned that being a homeowner would be significantly more challenging to me. Not necessarily because of finances, but because many unprofessional and dishonest contractors would see me as an easy target to take advantage of.
After all, I didn't attend several years of college to study home repairs. If I had, obviously, I would never find myself in a compromising situation where someone deceived me with the cost of home repairs or the quality thereof. I did not hire Rene for "cheap labor", or for any other reason other than I needed an honest person whom I could trust. As I mentioned before, Rene and I were neighbors for many years. Our sons were childhood friends. The day he showed up at my doorstep for my estimate, I was actually relieved that he wasn't a complete stranger that I was hiring. He walked into my home, making small talk about our boys going to school together for many years, and memories from those days. He knew I was, and had been during the entire time we had known each other, a single mom. I was upfront about my negative past experiences dealing with crooked contractors, and my hesitancy in hiring a stranger. After all, the only reason why I called him was because he had been referred to me by a friend. According to her, she referred him quite frequently and had never heard any negative feedback. He was very polite and respectful, very friendly and using our boys as a commonality between us. After showing him all the repairs I needed, he quoted me his price on just labor. We agreed that it was my responsibility to purchase any and all supplies needed to do the job. His price for labor was based on, and I quote, "to help (me) out. I have a full-time job to pay my bills, so I just do this on the side to help people and give me a little extra cash. I don't do this for the money, so don't worry. I'll take care of you. I promise." I verified that his quote was indeed a fair one, since I didn't believe in "taking food off of people's tables"; all I asked for in return was for "none (food) to be taken off of mine".
Trusting him was one of the worst choices I've ever made in my adult life. He reassured me countless times, even when I pointed out defects of the work being done while they were working, that I had nothing to worry about. To relax and "let him do all the worrying", that my job was "to worry about my patients at the hospital"; that he would ensure everything was done right and finished by the time he promised. None of that was true. I was left in a filthy, carpet-stained, poorly painted house; with beautiful, brand new light fixtures that didn't work. Penniless. Crying my eyes out. Nothing I could do about any of it.
Please, join me in stopping moments like this from happening to other Houstonians. Protect your family, friends, and neighbors from him and these kind of immoral people. Con-artists and crooks seldom look like what people may think. They often come disguised as "friends", "neighbors", "good Samaritans", and referred by people whom we trust.
Saying things like "you get what you pay for", or "you should've known better" are really not useful nor appropriate. Please refrain from making such remarks and use that amount of time and effort to sign this petition. Time and time again, Houstonians have proved that, TOGETHER, we can overcome all kinds of hardships and injustice. Let's get this criminal, and others like him, off our Houston streets!! Let's keep Houston safe and free from homeowner predators!!!