KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's never good when you pay a visit to a local business and the first person who sees you takes off running.
That's what happened when FOX4 Problem Solvers tried to visit a home-based company that sells appliances. Unfortunately, our experience mirrored the experience of multiple customers.
"I thought I was dealing with a professional," Steven Bailey said.
Bailey hired that business, owned by Gregg Vernon Hines, to install a furnace and air conditioning system in his Kansas City home.
"He came to the house, took a look at what we had and told us that we could pay the ($700) deposit and then we could pay the balance over the next 12 months," Bailey said.
Hines promised to start installation the very next day, but that never happened.
Bailey called Hines and texted him to no avail -- just more empty promises that Hines was "on his way."
After weeks passed and no work was done, Bailey demanded his $700 deposit back. To collect it, Bailey paid a personal visit to Hines' home.
"I had to go to his house for days on end in multiple different vehicles so they didn't know who I was," Bailey said, describing his efforts to catch Hines at home.
When Bailey finally caught up with Hines, he said Hines admitted he didn't have his money. Instead, Hines gave Bailey an air conditioning unit in exchange for the refund.
"We don't know even if it works," Bailey said.
He's called multiple heating and cooling companies for help installing it, but none will stand by a unit they didn't provide and will still charge him to install it even if it doesn't work.
That's why Bailey called FOX4 Problem Solvers: to warn you about Gregg Vernon Hines.
"People just need to know about him," Bailey said.
Hines has a history of shady business practices. In 2013, he was convicted of defrauding an elderly Lafayette County woman when he charged her for a furnace so old and poorly installed that it was actually a fire hazard.
Another woman in Kansas City, Kansas, still has the worthless air conditioner and furnace that Hines sold her three years ago sitting in her garage.
She gave him $1,200 for what he said were new units, only to discover that all of them were more than 15 years old.
She hasn't been able to reach Hines since and neither has FOX4. He won't answer the phone and our attempts to talked to him person, as we already noted, prompted whomever is his living in his house to take off running.
That's why to help solve Bailey's heating and cooling problem we decided to go straight to the top to Summit Heating and Cooling in North Kansas City.
We asked Summit sales manager Mike Barker Mike Barker to check out that air conditioning unit that Bailey is now stuck with.
The verdict: "It was used and in disarray," Barker said. In fact, he said it was so old it's not even safe to operate.
But no worries, Summit Heating and Cooling, with a big assist from Lennox. agreed to solve this problem.
"He'll have a safe operational heating and cooling system," Barker said.
Summit removed Bailey's super old furnace and replaced it with a shiny new one from Lennox. They also updated his electrical and duct work and installed central air.
"We like helping people out when we can," Barker said.
Just in time for the next blast of summer heat.