Action 9: Contractor with past problems surfaces again

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - When a woman reached out to Channel 9 upset with a contractor, Action 9 recognized the contractor's name.

The contractor was someone WSOC-TV reported on two years ago.

The owner ended up going to prison at that time.

Action 9 reporter Jason Stoogenke found Randy Briel seems to be rubbing customers the wrong way again.

Briel has a new business name with an address in Blakeney, but customers are still complaining to Action 9 about him.

Becky Howell hired Briel to build a patio and a fence at her home.

He built the patio, but that was all.

"His worked turned out very good. It's just trying to get him to do it," Howell said.

Howell said weeks went by and Briel had one excuse after another.

"We were very, very, very patient with him," Howell said.

She eventually asked for part of her money back, $2,600, that would have been for the fence.

Weeks went by and Howell threatened to sue and gave him a deadline to pay up and contacted Action 9.

"Do I think he is wrong and do I want other people to be aware of him? Absolutely," Howell said.

Action 9 first heard about Briel in 2011.

He had changed his business name 16 times over six years. That's not illegal, but it can make it hard for customers to research who they are dealing with.

Briel served time for breach of trust in South Carolina.

He got out in June 2012 and went back to work under a new company name: Signature Decks and Patios of Charlotte.

Channel 9 called him and asked why he hadn't refunded Howell's money.

He said he had family issues, that he was not trying to keep anything from her, that he wants to do what is right and that he will do whatever it takes.

Action 9 also talked with him about his business.

Howell said he does good work, when he does it.

"It sounds like you have some real potential here to really have a good, solid business," Stoogenke said.

He agreed, but said there is not much room for error.

"Is he a con artist or is he just a bad businessman?" Howell said.

"Which do you think?" Stoogenke asked.

"I think it's a little bit of both unfortunately," Howell said.

Howell eventually researched Briel, found his criminal record, his list of business names and the Action 9 report from 2011.

Even then, as much as she wanted her money back, she still wished he had just finished what she said was coming out so well.