Taking Action

‘He got us’: Chester woman feels scammed out of nearly $3,400 after painter is a no-show

Taking Action

CHESTER, Va (WRIC) – One Chester woman said she feels duped after she paid thousands of dollars to make a deposit on a paint job for her home, but the painter never showed up.

Colleen Stenglein said not only did the painter not show up for the job, but the check she gave for the 50% deposit was cashed just three days after she gave it.

Stenglein and her husband have been saving up for 15 years to be able to remodel her kitchen.

“This house has been a project since the day we bought it, and we knew that,” she told 8News in an interview.

She was hoping to get her kitchen cabinets and a hallway painted on Oct. 11 by Jay Withrow with Tru Colors Painting and More. She signed a contract and paid the 50% deposit in August, but Withrow said they were busy and would need to begin the project two months later.

“I found three different companies that were recommended by neighbors. He was one of them. I got estimates from all three. He came to the house, wrote us a proposal. I said I was impressed with him because he said he was a veteran and a small business owner,” Stenglein said.

The business card for Tru Colors Painting and More that was given to Stenglein shows an address that led 8News to a P.O. Box in a UPS Store in Mechanicsville. (Photo: Colleen Stenglein)

She said she wasn’t worried when he said they wouldn’t be able to start until October because the other two companies she was in contact with had similar delays.

After signing the contract with Withrow and his business and paying $3,357.45, Oct. 11 came and went and Withrow never showed up to do the job.

A copy of the check Stenglein wrote to Withrow on Aug. 13. The check was cashed three days later on Aug. 16. (Photo: Colleen Stenglein)

“The Friday before the 11th, I was a little concerned that they hadn’t confirmed the time that they were coming,” she said. “I fell for the story hook, line and sinker.”

Stenglein said she left repeated messages saying she’d like to know what’s going on, and she never heard from them.

Withrow never showed up, leaving her cabinets and hallway unpainted. The address on Withrow’s business card led 8News to a P.O. Box inside a UPS Store in Mechanicsville.

8News also reached out to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation after noticing Withrow did not have a license online. DPOR officials confirmed Withrow is unlicensed.

DPOR confirmed with 8News that Jay Withrow with Tru Colors Painting and More is unlicensed with the department. (Photo: 8News reporter Sabrina Shutters)

If an unlicensed painter is doing jobs above $1,000, that is a criminal offense, punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, if prosecuted by local Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

When we asked Withrow where his DPOR license is, he said, “We have our license and everything.” He went on to say he would show us a copy of his license Thursday.

8News never received a copy of the license Withrow claims he has. The Better Business Bureau also shows complaints against his business dating back to 2019.

When 8News asked him why Stenglein’s paint job was never done and she never got her money, he said, “I just had my dad pass away and when I went to Florida for my father’s funeral, I literally lost my secretary and two of my guys at the same time. So I had just came back from Florida and I’ve been dealing with catching up with everybody, getting a hold of everybody.”

Withrow said while he was in Florida, his secretary left with the company phone and all the passwords to the business email and other accounts.

“I’m 100% going to either if she wants her deposit returned, I will return her deposit, or we will do the job,” Withrow told 8News Wednesday.

Stenglein isn’t holding her breath and is already looking for a new painter to help finish her long-awaited kitchen remodel.

“Honestly, don’t expect getting anything, but I’m going to try,” she said.

Stenglein has filed a civil claim for her money with the general district court.

For now, 8News will be waiting alongside Stenglein, following up on when she gets her money back or when the job is done.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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