Phoenix area's best and worst contractors of 2008

Phoenix area's best and worst contractors of 2008

by Liz Vernon

In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Phoenix contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Phoenix area.

The Best

The Hook Up

Before the Geek Squad, there was Alan Brown.

The owner of The Hook Up sets up and troubleshoots audio and video equipment.

David Burks of Chandler hired Brown to install a flat-screen television, rewire a VCR/DVD player and program a new universal remote. “Over the phone, he was able to get my satellite TV going,” Burks says. “He’s prompt and dependable, and his prices are the best in town.”

Brown, whose company received a dozen “A” reports in the past year, says enjoying the job is important. “If you don’t like what you do, it’ll show in your end product. In corporate America, I sat behind a desk and hated life. Now, I play with toys all day.”

Noble Refrigeration

After a bad service experience when her air conditioner stopped working, Michelle Berg of Phoenix called Noble Refrigeration. “John [Noble Jr.] looked at the vents and gave me new pieces for a broken vent and air filter,” Berg says. “He said our older unit should last a few more years.” Owner Pat Noble says customer service is a top priority. “We’re there to do a job, and we make sure they’re happy with our work,” he says. Berg, one of many happy customers, appreciates it. “In Phoenix, air conditioning is a necessity,” she says. “It’s great to know we can call them.”

The Worst

Solymar Homes/H & M Construction

George Thoeming of Gold Canyon wanted to add a room to his house, so he made an appointment with Gary Miller of Solymar Homes.

“He had a brochure, and it looked very professional,” says Thoeming, who made a $13,000 down payment on the $30,000 project. Miller returned twice to take measurements, and then Thoeming says he never saw him again. Miller and Anthony Hinrichs, another Solymar employee, allegedly cashed Thoeming’s check and deposited it into an account for H & M Construction, a new company they were starting, according to the Maricopa County attorney’s office.

A Maricopa County grand jury indicted the two men on 17 fraud charges in September. As of press time, the cases hadn’t yet gone to trial. The charges are criminal, but both companies and individuals also are facing multiple civil lawsuits. Calls to Hinrichs’ and Miller’s attorneys seeking comment weren’t returned.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Solymar has an unsatisfactory rating. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors says the company has received more than 40 complaints and lost its license in 2007, the same year the company went bankrupt and closed.

Kentec Builders LLC

Kent Vernon Brady of Kentec Builders LLC was indicted in September on three counts of fraud in Maricopa County. Brady allegedly took more than $138,000 from area homeowners and didn’t complete their remodeling projects.

As of press time, the case hadn’t gone to trial. The fraud charges are criminal, but several civil suits also have been filed against Brady and Kentec. Brady’s attorney didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Kentec Builders has an unsatisfactory BBB rating, and according to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, more than 20 complaints. Its license was revoked in January 2007.

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Photo courtesy of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors
Christopher James Eastwood Photo courtesy of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors

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