MIDLOTHIAN

After a storm blew through Mesquite, Rebecca Cuellar needed a new fence. Little did she know, she’d be out $1,500 and still need a new fence even after contracting a Midlothian-based company.

With a quick Google search, Cuellar discovered Condor Fencing, of Midlothian. She received quotes from other contractors, and the price seemed reasonable.

On May 17, an employee with Condor Fencing measured the property and provided an estimate and said Cuellar needed a $1,500 down payment to start the $3,000 project.

“We gave them a check for $1,500, and it was cashed the very next day,” Cuellar relayed. “They said they would be done between two to three weeks.”

Cuellar communicated back and forth with the owner of Condor Fencing, Shawn Partain — a Midlothian resident. Cuellar emailed the Midlothian Mirror 80 screenshots of text messages between the two. In the texts, Partain said the project was delayed because he was short staffed, had a death in the family and attended his child’s graduation.

Six weeks after May 17, two Condor Fencing employees installed posts on the property.

Cuellar relayed the City of Mesquite wants to fine her because the backyard has been exposed for quite some time.

Cuellar said she never spoke with Partain on the phone nor visited with him in person. Partain would leave voicemails and would request Cuellar to call him back, but he continued to communicate solely via text.

Cuellar said she contacted the city inspector who disclosed a permit was never filed by the Condor Fencing.

Since the fence is nonexistent, Cuellar was forced to cancel a Fourth of July party and family gathering. She admitted she’d never been scammed out of money.

“I’m on the verge of crying a lot,” Cuellar expressed. “I’m stressed about the safety of other people because our pool is open and exposed. My partner and I are up all night with no sleep. Anyone can take anything out of our backyard.”

“We don’t know what else to do,” Cuellar pleaded.

Hiring an attorney and paying more is not the ideal resolution and is desperate for a fence. She has hired a new company to finish the job but is waiting for them to finalize the permit with the city. She is nervous about the fence posts installed by Condor Fencing will not be up to code, which will mean more money out of pocket.

She contacted the Better Business Bureau, filed with small claims court and wrote a review on his website. At one point, Partain texted her, “Like for you to take review off till I finish. If you don’t like fence put it back on. We are not a bad company. I’m fixing everything.”

Partain also texted her, “I will knock price off bill and stain it for free is what I wanted to tell you. I don’t want you mad I’m trying to fix everything.”

CONDOR FENCING MAKES CLAIM

The Mirror contacted Partain to ask why the fence was not completed after nine weeks.

“First off, I have multiple text messages, and she doesn’t have the other half of the money and she told me that in all of the texts — and she wanted me to do a payment plan deal and that’s not what we do — and she knew that as far as signing the contract,” Partain responded.

He confirmed Cuellar gave him $1,500 up front. He said his company removed the damaged fence and installed posts. “She said she didn’t have the funds to complete the job,” he reiterated.

Partain said he would email the messages of her explaining she could not afford the remaining balance. Partain was given a deadline 15 hours in advance to forward the proper documentation backing up his claims.

Partain was again contacted for comment. He spoke briefly and asked to be called back, eventually sending a text message to the Midlothian Mirror asking for a return call in "45 minutes" early Wednesday morning. He provided no comment or documentation as of press time.

FEEDBACK FROM THE BBB

When the Midlothian Mirror contacted Phylissia Clark, vice president of public relations and communications for the BBB of North Texas, and mentioned Condor Fencing, she was quick to assure the company has an “F” rating.

“In the last three years, Condor Fencing has received the second highest number of complaints of any fence contractor in our database,” Clark affirmed. “North Texas companies includes 29 counties around Dallas and Wichita Falls, including Ellis County.”

In the past three years, the BBB received 26 complaints filed against Condor Fencing. Four of the 26 were Waxahachie residents. Clark assured the business has failed to resolve the underlying cause or causes of a pattern of complaints. The BBB continues to receive complaints alleging Condor Fencing is taking deposits and not providing any product or service in return.

In the past three years, the BBB received about 293 complaints about fence contractors. The majority of the complaints were against service issues, repair issues, and warranty and guarantee issues.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450