Call for Action: Dozens of customers complain of contractor’s work
MADISON, Wis. — When a company wrongs its customers, who is there to hold them accountable?
We asked that question of our Call for Action team after it received dozens of complaints from consumers who said a contractor used three different companies to promise work that was never finished or wasn’t finished right.
Type “Tyler Hansen” into the CFA database and you’ll get a sense of the all-consuming work CFA volunteer David has been doing for the past six months.
“The CFA team has probably got in excess of 25 cases,” he told us. “Some people have lost thousands of dollars with this process.”
Dean Schroeder is one of those people. He owns the Monona Bait and Ice Cream Shop and hired Hansen under the business “EcoView Madison,” putting down $5,000 for some window work. Fast forward several months and the work did get completed — but he says not well.
“Basically after they put in the windows and the doors, it was just a total nightmare,” he said. “The communication wasn’t there, there are places in the house that aren’t complete still, the windows leak air, the doors are damaged — even my front door of the house is being held on packaging tape.”
From small business to the science of business, UW-Madison Consumer Science Professor Lydia Ashton hired Hansen’s EcoView arm for some home work, noting it was the local branch of a nationally known brand with good reviews. Her story was similar to Schroeder’s.
“By October, it became a little bit obvious to us that we were not going to go anywhere because we kept reaching out and we kept getting excuses,” she said.
Part of the puzzle is many of these folks have dealings with different companies — all of them apparently operated under Hansen.
“The first company I became aware of was EcoView, and they are now permanently closed,” CFA Volunteer David said. “Then they moved on to Weathersealed of Wisconsin, and then Badgerland Baths of Wisconsin — all out of the same address, all with the same phone number.”
At least three businesses in question, two dozen Call for Action cases, and very little documented contact with Hansen himself had us asking how widespread is this problem and what authorities are doing about it.
Volunteer David told us his cases alone exceeded a total of $100,000 owed to wronged customers — and that only counts the cases taken by our team.
We also talked to the Better Business Bureau, which said Weathersealed of Wisconsin has an F grade through its rating system. To date, the BBB has received 44 complaints against the company. Since March, BBB says it has not received a response from the company, despite 24 new complaints during that time.
We also checked in with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The division doesn’t comment on specific investigations, but it counts a combined 69 complaints against EcoView Madison, Badgerland and Weathersealed. The division said it has not yet referred any cases to the Dane County District Attorney, but we checked there anyway to see if anyone else had.
The district attorney didn’t respond to our questions about open cases against Hansen or his companies, but he did refer us to online court records, where a list scrolls on and on.
We called, texted and emailed Hansen for two weeks, leaving voicemails until it became too full to leave any more. We also stopped by the storefront on Stoughton Road, which currently has a sign on it that says the business is closed for renovations. When we called the landlord, he said he filed for eviction before ultimately coming to an agreement with Hansen for the company to vacate the premises by Aug. 15.
Many of Hansen’s wronged customers say they don’t think they’ll ever see their money again. Now, their goal is to warn others.
“Stay away from him,” said Schroeder of Monona Bait and Ice Cream. “He’ll gladly take your money and you’ll never see any service from him.”
Our Call for Action team has seen some success in these EcoView Madison cases.
One of our volunteers got $4,600 back for one woman who was trying to get window work done while also caring for her dying husband. In another case, one former customer says they agreed to loan Hansen $4,000 to help pay off his car. That family got about $3,700 back, thanks to our team.
However, we’ve also continued to receive calls for action from former customers of Hansen’s who haven’t gotten their money back, as recently as last week.
Do you have a Call for Action that needs solving? Call our CFA team Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 608-270-2833. You can also call for action anytime at channel3000.com/callforaction.
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