ORLANDO, Fla. — Several buyers claim a local homebuilder has collected deposits for homes it’s not delivering as promised.
Action 9 first revealed serious complaints against the automaker in 2015, but consumers are still complaining about denied refunds.
“I cried day and night because all I wanted to do, honestly, was just go and build a house for my family,” Janet Carter said.
She thought she had found a new home in Palm Bay. Carter, a single parent with five children, signed a contract with Solar X Homes.
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The builder announced a solar home with no electricity costs that was hurricane proof. After paying a $2,000 deposit, Carter said the builder continued to delay construction and dodge his phone calls.
“Yeah, they kept putting me in circles, and circles and that’s when I got really pissed off.” Carter said she canceled the contract after eight months with no signs of construction.
Carter said Solar X initially agreed to a refund, but that didn’t happen. “I was even crying. I yelled at him and said, ‘I need my money.’ »
At the Solar X Homes office near Orlando, Todd Ulrich discovered that the office had been emptied.
Solar X Homes is rated F by the Better Business Bureau. Four other buyers said they couldn’t get their deposits back. A consumer claimed to have lost nearly $10,000.
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Action 9 first exposed the builder seven years ago. The location has changed and there have been two more company names, but the complaints from yesterday and today are the same.
“I still don’t have my money and as you can see the house still isn’t finished,” Ellen Waldrop said.
When Waldrop signed its new home contract, the company was called The Eco Home Company, offering solar homes with no electricity costs. Five years later, Waldrop says the house isn’t finished and Eco has refused to return his $2,000 deposit.
“When you go to call them, they don’t return your calls,” Waldrop said.
The principal of both companies was Richard Rivera, a home builder whom Action 9 first investigated in 2015 as KCV Custom Homes. Buyers said they paid KCV for homes the company failed to deliver.
Now, seven years after Ulrich’s first investigation aired, Orange County investigators have charged Rivera with illegal contracts. He faces trial this spring.
Rivera contacted Action 9. He denied acting as a contractor and said he would prove his innocence in court. Rivera also told Ulrich that many buyers got their money back, but Waldrop was not his client at the time.
Action 9 has helped other homebuyers get refunds since 2015.
Carter sued the title company involved in his bad contract and was able to recover all of his money.
“And it wasn’t like they cared about anything,” Carter said.
This case is extreme, but buyers should check public records and complaint history before writing a down payment for a new home.
Response from Richard Rivera:
Allegation 1 – Return of Bail to Palm Bay Lady.
Answer 1- The deposit was held by Title Company and was returned in full to the buyer by said title company upon demand.
Allegation 2 – Return of Deposit to 2018/2019 Buyers at Debary (Waldrop)
Answer 2- I was not the owner of The Eco Home Company when the buyers mentioned above signed their contract and placed their deposit. I will notify the beneficial owners so that they may be able to authorize the title company to return the deposit. This case has nothing to do with me.
Allegation 3 – Unlicensed Contractor
Answer 3- DBPR saw some of the existing homes in my social media that I built using licensed general contractors and interpreted it as if I was marketing to build them. DBPR’s ridiculous complaint that triggered the baseless accusation was NOT about building houses without permits, their complaint was about my “supposedly” advertising to build houses without permits, which I have never done in the life. DBPR attempted to contact me during the COVID 2021 quarantine period to request my side of the story that would have ended there; however, as my office was closed due to quarantine, they could not get a response; therefore, they submitted the case to the DA by default. The accusations are 100% baseless. I pay and have always paid licensed general contractors to build my homes. As an investor and developer, I have NEVER in my life built a house, offered to build a house, or had any interest in building a house. I hire and have always hired and paid general contractors to build the houses for me. What’s even more ridiculous is that it’s impossible to get a building permit to build a house without having a general contractor’s license. Feel free to search any home I paid to build and you’ll find out who the licensed general contractor actually was who was paid to do the work and complete each home.
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