Evidence is mounting that there are significant and sustained problems for customers of Worcester contractor Mutual Builders Inc. and the firm’s owner/broker Jay Pelletz well beyond the Sun’s initial Nov. 15 report based on the yearlong delay experienced by a Charlton couple.
Three more men have come forward with stories of delayed or incomplete work and money owed. The Better Business Bureau is investigating two new complaints. And the state Attorney General’s office is actively involved in at least one case.
On the Mutual Builders website, Pelletz is listed as a member of the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau. However, Mutual Builders is not accredited by the BBB.
“He [Pelletz] is not an accredited business. I would think that the impression he’s trying to make to customers is that he is saying he is an accredited business, but he’s not,” said Joanna Toomey, BBB Operations Manager for Central & Western Massachusetts and Northeastern Connecticut.
In the last 36 months, there have been four complaints filed against Mutual Builders with the BBB. Two complaints that are pending were filed in November, and can be seen here.
“We reach out to businesses and ask for their positions. We act as a third party to go back and forth between the customer and business,” Toomey said. “If the business doesn’t respond and there is no resolution, then the claim closes as unresolved.
“Our goal is to get all of these complaints resolved,” she added.
As the Sun reported, Messier and Derusha filed a formal complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office on Nov. 16. Earlier this week, Messier received notice from the AG’s office to submit any and all paperwork (contracts, emails, etc.) that relates to the purchase of his Charlton home.
According to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, there have been two complaints filed against Mutual Builders in 2015. These complaints have been referred to the office’s mediation services for assistance.
“I would not like other people suffering the same consequences that I suffer with this guy. … He’s a lie guy, he say[s] something today and after a couple of day[s], saying another thing to blow you up.” — Jeanty Pierre Paul
Same old story, but worse?
Jeanty Pierre Paul of Dudley told the Sun that he paid in full for his house two years ago and the home still isn’t completed. Since then, he’s filed several complaints with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau.
“I am not only complaining about Mutual Builders,” Pierre Paul told the Sun. “I’ve opened several complaints to BBB” as well as the state Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.
According to Pierre Paul, he is living in his unfinished home without a driveway, sidewalks or a garage.
“Jay Pelletz took from me $83,500 to complete my house based on spec-sheet plan discussed and agreed before completion. Since he took the money from me, he’s never showed up. His office seem closed every day, and he’s never respond[ed] to any communication from me. Not even emails or phone calls. The house that Mr Pelletz should’ve completed two years ago, is my primary residence. I am a father of five kids. I have nowhere else to live.”
Pierre Paul writes: “Mutual Builders became a delinquent now in the construction business. I am a victim of Jay Pelletz. He has been paid in full to build my new home, since he took the money he never [showed up], 2 years [later] the building [is] still not completed. Anytime I met Jay in his office he … say[s] I’ll [be] right back there to complete items left. But never show[s] up so far.”
“The retaining wall let go, and I had a 20-foot drop with a cascading waterfall in between our two properties. [The town said] because it was private property I had to go through Pelletz. When I finally got him on the phone, Pelletz said, ‘It’s none of my concern.’ ” — Adam Tremblay of Southbridge
Back in September, also on Yelp!, Pierre Paul had this to say: “I would not like other people suffering the same consequences that I suffer with this guy. … He’s a lie guy, he say[s] something today and after a couple of day[s], saying another thing to blow you up.”
Like Messier, Adam Tremblay of Southbridge said he had to get state authorities involved while Pelletz’s Mutual Builders was building his home. Tremblay and his wife moved into a home in a development owned by Pelletz in Southbridge in 2008.
The house was near completion at closing, but the lawn wasn’t down and the driveway wasn’t finished. According to Tremblay, Pelletz told him that he wouldn’t have to chase him down to get it completed.
It took eight months for the lawn and driveway to be done, Tremblay said. “We had to fight to get our lawn installed, and getting the driveway installed was a nightmare.”
“I watched other houses in the development getting built from the foundation up before he even installed our driveway. When it came time to put our driveway in, he [Pelletz] said, ‘We made a mistake when we surveyed the land. Your driveway actually belongs to the neighbors, and now your driveway will actually have to go through your front lawn.’ ”
Over the course of three months, Tremblay said he battled with Pelletz about the driveway before an easement was granted to allow the driveway to stay where it was.
According to Tremblay, Pelletz abandoned the Southbridge development a year or two after Tremblay purchased his home. “We’re still on sub roads. The town won’t take over the property because he hasn’t completed the project,” he said.
According to Tremblay, because the storm drains weren’t installed and engineered correctly in the development, after a heavy rainfall the road bubbled up, causing “a Blackstone River” down the road through his neighbor’s property and into Tremblay’s property, to a 20-foot retaining wall in Tremblay’s backyard.
“The retaining wall let go, and I had a 20-foot drop with a cascading waterfall in between our two properties,” he said. “I spoke with the town and they said because it was private property I had to go through Pelletz. When I finally got him on the phone, Pelletz said, ‘It’s none of my concern. And it’s not my issue.’ ”
Repeated attempts this past week by the Sun to contact Pelletz went unanswered.
According to Tremblay, it took Pelletz a year to get an engineer to his property to correct the retaining wall. “It’s still not done right.”
Last Thanksgiving eve, Mutual Builders came out with a backhoe to cap the retaining wall. Tremblay said. “They sunk the backhoe in my yard and had to have someone come out and tow it. They never came back to fix it,” he said.
Tremblay said he and his wife now are looking to sell the house. “When I bought it I thought it would be a great starter home, but now I can afford to get the hell out of there,” he said.
Tyrone “Diago” McClain of Worcester, founder and director of Worcester Pay It Forward, is still waiting to get his deposit returned to him from Pelletz. McClain and his wife were purchasing a house on Wildwood Avenue in Worcester, and the couple put down $7,500. According to McClain, they were told by Pelletz that the house would be ready on Feb. 25, 2016.
Since the deposit, according to McClain, he hasn’t heard from Pelletz.
“Our loan was already in underwriting and he never responded to any of our calls,” McClain said.
McClain said his lawyer reached out to Pelletz, and the builder agreed to return the deposit. A meeting was scheduled for Pelletz to return the check on Nov. 16. However, Pelletz never showed.
McClain and his wife just put an offer down on another house and are counting on the deposit they gave Pelletz. “This guy is burning a ton of people,” he said.