• Shelby County man lost more than $3,000 after handyman cashed checks without finishing job

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    SHELBY CO., Tenn. - UPDATE: Larry Cullom, a U.S. veteran, told FOX13 a handyman from Mississippi saw the story on Facebook and wanted to help.

    Roger Kelly, with Delta Fencing and Repairs fixed the gate for free last week.

    Cullom told FOX13 he filed a state complaint against the other handyman.


    A Millington man said he lost more than $3,000 after a handyman started a project but took the cash before finishing the job.

    The customer told FOX13 he hired “Active Iron Gates and Fences” to install a new gate in front of his home.

    However, it’s been almost a week since he last heard from the handyman.

    And FOX13 discovered this isn’t the first time this company has done this. Active Iron Gates and Fences has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, and this is why.


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    The homeowner – Larry Cullum – said the handyman, Ronnie Brown, was supposed to come back this week to install an automatic operator, but he hasn’t returned his calls.

    Cullum said all he wanted was a new iron fence to keep his home more secure. He found Brown online and hired him last month to build and install the fence.

    “I thought this man was honest, I really did,” Cullum said.

    Brown hung the gate on May 30, but he didn’t have the automatic operator. So, he promised to return the next day.

    Cullum told FOX13 his wife was reluctant to pay without the job being complete. 

    “My wife said, ‘I’m not writing the check, I’m not writing the check.’ Finally, I went in and told her go ahead and write the check, he’ll be back tomorrow. I was wrong again,” said Cullum.

    However, Cullum hasn’t seen or heard from Brown in almost a week. Brown charged him $3,400 and cashed both checks already.

    When FOX13 crews went to Brown’s business, the doors were locked. Hours later, Brown called back. We asked him about the job he didn’t finish.

    Brown said there was a delay with the new operator. But when asked why he hadn’t told Cullum that, he hung up.

    Cullum said he has learned his lesson. 

    Both complaints for Brown’s company on BBB’s website said that he started the work and cashed the checks but never finished the job.

    BBB officials said whenever you are looking for a handyman or contractor, always check the BBB website so you don’t lose any money.

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