CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Another family has come forward saying they too were ripped off by a guy FOX 46 began investigating months ago. Their stories together are depicting an alarming trend.
"We've given him so many deadlines and we've given him so many opportunities and he's given us so many lies," Brian Nagle told FOX 46.
"His action shows us he's not good," said Irena Hramenkova.
They're talking about Bernie Douthit. The Nagle family and Hramenkova say they hired him for jobs in the past, mostly to work on their air conditioning units. He used to work for a reputable HVAC company, but is now doing business on his own.
The only problem? Customers say he took their money and never completed the work.
The Nagles told FOX 46 they bought two AC units from Douthit who said he could give them a discounted rate.
They never got their units and despite lengthy text message conversations they showed us, they never got a refund either.
"I'll gladly give you guys your money back or your equipment. Whatever you want," a text from Douthit said.
"I'm going to have to bring you your equipment tomorrow morning if that's ok with you. My father in law passed away last night," said another.
"Went out on my own. I will get it to you and install it ASAP I promise sir."
"We will need to reschedule. I am way behind schedule."
"I'm sorry. I've been completely out of commission the past four days. I pulled an abdominal lower muscle.
"'Ah, I'm in Lumberton doing this large job. Then it was my truck got stolen, my tools got stolen, I got injured'. It was like, ok, either you've had the worst run of bad luck or you're feeding me a bunch of excuses and you don't have what we paid you for," Nagle said.
Hramenkova says something similar happened between her and Douthit. She says he took $900 and he promised to clean my air conditioning system.
She said Douthit was there for 15 minutes without a single tool and claimed he did the work.
"Give me [a] description for what you did, invoice," Hramenkova said. She told FOX 46 that Douthit said he'd email it to her.
He never did, so she took him to court and won, but she says Douthit has yet to pay her what she's due.
"God punish him...he's supposed to know this word karma," she said.
At one point, Douthit responded to a FOX 46 request saying he was in Boone for a job, promising he'd call us that night. We never heard from him again.
We also visited his last known addresses to no avail, and reached out to him as well as multiple other family members and have yet to hear back.
But when his customers say they're going to the news about him, they say he gets worked up.
"He's like, 'I'm stealing from you?' and I'm like, 'well, what do you call promising or somebody paying for a product and goods and the products and services are not getting delivered? Or the refund happening. That's theft!' and I haven't heard back from him since.
The three stories we've heard all come down to this: The customers paid for goods or services they say they never received and according to the North Carolina general statutes, that's illegal.
FOX 46 is continuing to follow these stories and Douthit.
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