Worst Raleigh Contractors of 2012
Arkidus Home Protection | Miami, Fla.
Rather than trying to fix a ruptured pipe on his water heater himself, Durham, N.C., Angie's List member Kevin Klein, who proclaims himself somewhat unhandy, simply turned to the $405 home warranty he and his wife purchased from Arkidus Home Protection after moving into their new home in April. Klein picked up the phone intending to ask Arkidus for instructions on how to schedule a repair, he says, but none were forthcoming.
“I embarked on a lengthy email-and-phone-tag wild goose chase, during which time I spoke with the same person several times, but every time, he identified himself with a different name,” Klein says.
“ Every time,
himself with a
After days of playing hunt and peck, and after spending significantly more time than he had planned, Klein canceled the warranty. Though the couple had to pay $700 out of pocket for a new water heater, Klein says he feels fortunate he was able to get out of the contract and get his money refunded in May. “I gather from the later [Angie’s List] reviews that not everyone was so lucky,” he says.
The Kleins’ F review is one of 50 F reviews and five D’s the Miami-based home warranty company received since May, with members in 21 states saying Arkidus failed to provide promised services, didn’t respond to phone calls and emails and never provided promised refunds. The company also landed in the Penalty Box 23 times in 2012 after not responding to complaints from members in 12 of those states.
Arkidus’ website informs customers it’s out of business “due to financial loss,” but to contact them for refunds. In an email to Angie’s List Magazine, Arkidus’ owner, Reinaldo “Ray” Berges, says: “Any unresolved issues with clients will be handled.”
In August, the Florida Department of Financial Services issued a consumer advisory regarding Arkidus, alerting Florida consumers to contact the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation with complaints. Tiffany Henderson, the office’s special investigator, confirmed she’s investigating Arkidus, but declined to comment further.
While Arkidus didn’t have required licensing to sell home warranties in some states, North Carolina doesn’t require home warranty companies to hold a trade license, according to state records.
Harbor Light Asset Management | Raleigh, N.C.
State securities investigators in North Carolina say at least three investors looking to leverage commodities, or so-called “e-mini” futures earnings, with Raleigh’s Harbor Light Asset Management wound up instead losing at least $300,000 to owner Michael Anthony Jenkins, who they say took the money for personal use.
Jenkins remains in the Wake County Jail after being charged in August with three felony counts of securities fraud in what North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall referred to as a Ponzi scheme. Also, they say the financial planner never registered as a commodities trader with the secretary of state’s office, nor with the National Futures Association. At press time, no trial date had been scheduled.
Marshall urges consumers to call the state’s securities hotline at 800-688-4507 to check whether a financial planner is registered to sell securities. “If the person trying to get your money is not properly registered, that is a major red warning flag,” Marshall says via email. “You may want to put your hand on your wallet and just walk away.”
S & L Roofing, Siding and Windows | Lillington, N.C.
Spring Lake, N.C., member Dora Soto’s niggling feeling about writing a $2,244 check to owner Donald “Lynn” Register grew only stronger after employees at the C-rated S & L finished her job in May.
“ I could still
put my finger
of [the boards].”
Soto hired S & L to replace her porch posts and the rotting boards around windows and the chimney, but says they did shoddy work. “I could still put my finger through some of [the boards],” she says. After about four weeks of trying to get Register to fix the work, Soto says she took him to court and won a $2,000 judgment — bringing the total Register owes to two creditors to more than $20,000, court records show. He also faces a separate misdemeanor charge for trying to hide a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup truck that was slated to be repossessed.
S & L also landed in the Penalty Box in September after not responding to a member’s complaint to fully refund his deposit to install windows. Register did not return requests for comment.