Muddy Mess! Homeowner paid thousands, says contractor didn’t do job right

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Mollie McLin hired a contractor four years ago to tear down an old retaining wall and build a new one at her Whitehaven home.

The point was to be able to enjoy her patio and backyard.

Instead, she was left with a muddy mess.

"This is supposed to be my patio, but I can't see it because it's mud."

It was fairly dry on the day WREG visited, but Mclin explained, " When it rains, it just floods, nothing but mud. It's like a mudslide!"

McLin said over time, the wall started to show cracks and gaps, so she called the contractor, Nathanal Walker, to take a look.

"He said 'Well, I'll be back tomorrow and check it out.' I called him back to find out what time he'd be back, he wouldn't answer my call," said McLin.

McLin said Walker continued to ignore her calls.

She sent a certified letter, which she knows he signed for, but still didn't get a response.

McLin told News Channel 3, "I'm hurt because the money was left to me by my deceased husband."

According to details outlined in the contract, Mclin paid about $7,300 total with $3,000 up front.

She said another contractor explained that her wall is likely missing certain pipes, and other items which is what's leading to the drainage problem.

However, McLin said Walker's contract seemed clear.

"I feel like that he took shortcuts. I paid him for things he did not do."

WREG visited the address on the contract to get Walker's side of the story.

A woman answered the door, then got upset.

The News Channel 3 Investigators eventually got Walker on the phone.

He said, "I have no comment about it," then hung up.

In Shelby County, a state home improvement license is required for any project over $3,000.

WREG checked and didn't find a license listed for Walker.

Contractors also need local permits for certain type work. Retaining walls no higher than four feet are exempt.

That's the height of McLin's wall.

However, the state license is required for work $3,000 and up regardless of permit requirements (anything above $25,000 requires a general contractor's license).

McLin admitted, besides a reference, she did most of her research after the wall started to fail.

It's a mistake she doesn't want others to make.

Meanwhile, she said she just wants the muddy mess to go away.

"I would like for him to come back and redo the whole wall and if not, give me my money back so that I can have someone else do it."

After WREG got involved, as a courtesy, the head of the Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement agreed to have an inspector visit McLin just to examine the wall and her potential needs.

Before hiring a contractor:

  • Get multiple references and quotes
  • Check for licensing and permit requirements
  • Inquire about insurance
  • Read online reviews
  • Check BBB reports
  • Check with TN Consumer Affairs for any disciplinary action

Click here to verify a contractor's license.

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