Seashore couple, taken for $10,000 by HVAC contractor, will get uncommon payout from state client safety fund

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (WAVY) – A couple who paid $ 10,000 to a contractor to install a defective, undersized HVAC system has a payment from the Fund for the recovery of transactions of the contractor.

Joe and Toby Rissin commissioned Antwain Chatman and his company HCEC to install the system in autumn 2018. They say the system never worked properly for the next 10 months, despite Chatman’s frequent visits and assurances.

The Rissins contacted 10 On Your Side and we were able to tell Chatman on camera that he would fix the issues. Then he went a step further and visited the Rissins and told them he would refund their money and remove the faulty equipment. In the end, he didn’t do either, and the couple never heard from Chatman again.

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“I hate to be taken advantage of,” said Joe Rissin Wednesday morning from his home near Virginia Wesleyan University.

The Rissins think Chatman is bold and bold, but not believable.

“I was really surprised that he came here and in front of the camera he admitted he was wrong and then ran away,” said Toby Rissin.

10 On Your Side told them about the state Fund for the recovery of transactions of the contractor in Richmond.

“It takes more than ‘He did a bad job,'” said attorney Brian Miller, who represented the Rissins for their sovereign wealth fund claim. Miller says he can count on one hand the awards he’s received from the fund over the past 30 years.

“[Chatman] obviously taken a job he wasn’t qualified for, but that alone wouldn’t have allowed them to recover, ”Miller said.

In order to reclaim money, the fund needs two key elements: the contractor must have a license and the consumer must provide evidence of fraud. Chatman was licensed for Class A contractors in Virginia.

For the Rissins, the trail of evidence consisted of a combination of text messages Chatman had sent them and a series of investigative stories from 10 On Your Side.

“The video clips that [10 On Your Side was] and the text messages he sent Mr. Rissin making all sorts of false promises, “Miller said was the evidence necessary to support her case.

The Rissins paid a second contractor $ 16,000 for a proper system. They received the maximum of $ 20,000 from the fund but had to pay legal fees and other expenses and received $ 13,200. Not to mention the inconvenience of 10 months of being too cold in winter, too hot in summer, and hours of chasing a contractor and dealing with documents, lawyers, and government regulators.

But Toby Rissin feels “fantastic, I’m so glad someone recommended you. I don’t know what we would have done without it [10 On Your Side] and you recommended a great lawyer. “

At one point, Chatman communicated with WAVY-TV 10 about the Rissins and several other clients who had complained about his work. We tried to contact him on Wednesday afternoon. He didn’t send our message back immediately.

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