CHICAGO (CBS) — They signed a contract for new windows and doors, but almost a dozen people say they’re now out tens of thousands of dollars instead.
Jenny Hargrave’s windows should have been replaced months ago. She’s still waiting and out $850.
“I feel like I’ve been, well I have been robbed,” she said.
Hargrave signed a contract with John LaCognata of Universal Windows Direct in October to have three windows installed in her McKinley Park house, which would cost her $1,700. She put down half.
Hargrave says LaCognata told her his associate would come by to measure the windows. Seven months and more than two dozen emails later, silence.
“Now, I definitely think he had no intention of installing my windows,” she said. “It really feels like I had my trust played with.”
Hargrave filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and she’s not the only customer waiting for him to make good. At least eight other people from all over the Chicago area have also signed contracts with LaCognata and Universal Windows Direct are now out some serious cash.
Their total payments? $32,480. All for work they’ve never received.
Although the marquee at LaCognata’s Bensenville office lists Universal Windows Direct, the office appears unused.
LaCognata was unable to be reached at any of his listed phone numbers.
One customer says LaCognata recently sent him a text stating he’s no longer operating as Universal Windows Direct and he’s working with corporate in Ohio to take care of impacted customers. But, those customers say neither windows, doors or refunds seem to be heading their way.
“I think maybe I was on the beginning end of this. Maybe I was one of the first people who he decided, ‘my business is going under. I’m just going to take as much money as I can,'” Hargrave said.
LaCognata’s wife, attorney and Universal Windows Direct corporate liaison Nikki Dutton did not respond to CBS 2’s messages.
A Better Business Bureau spokesperson said they are also investigating an influx of complaints about the Bensenville business but have not heard from LaCognata yet.