When you hire a contractor to work on your home, you expect to have your work done quickly and professionally. But for some homeowners and business owners in the Atlanta area, what seemed like a simple job turned into a major loss.

The Scheme

TrustDALE became aware of this scheme when one homeowner came forward with her story. She had hired Mark Tarnuaceanu of Artisan Woodworking Group to build and install a cabinet for her new microwave. He took her cabinet doors and $300, and never showed up to complete the work, or even return her cabinet doors! That’s when she called Dale.

TrustDALE did an investigation and found that she was not the only customer Artisan Woodworking Group had left high and dry. In fact, Dale found several customers in the Atlanta area who had been scammed. Mark Tarnuaceanu had taken their money and never returned. He wouldn’t even return their calls and emails. In one case, a homeowner had given him $5,000 for a kitchen renovation. In return, they got a botched paint job and no kitchen renovation.

In another instance, Mr. Tarnuaceanu took $1,000 from a customer for a job. He went immediately to the bank and cashed the check, then disappeared.

Visiting Artisan Woodworking Group

To follow up on the claims, a producer from TrustDALE visited Mr. Tarnuaceanu at his place of business. He claimed to have done no wrong. He said that the clients had canceled their orders with him and were free to pick up their property from his business at any time. He also denied owing anyone money.

Since TrustDALE’s associates weren’t getting anywhere with Mr. Tarnuaceanu, Dale decided to visit the business himself. He brought along some of the customers Mr. Tarnuaceanu had scammed. But Mr. Tarnuaceanu never showed up. Just like his customers, he wouldn’t return texts or phone calls from Dale.

However, Dale did find one customer’s cabinets in the workshop. But the rest of the property he had stolen was nowhere to be found.

Filing a Report

With no progress coming from Mr. Tarnuaceanu and Artisan Woodworking Group, there was only one thing left to do. Dale accompanied one of the scammed customers to the Roswell police station to file a complaint.

If a contractor takes a deposit and doesn’t return to do the work, that’s outright theft!

Don’t hesitate to file a report with the police. It’s the best way to stop these criminals and keep them from harming anyone else.

Beware of Scams

It’s not always possible to steer clear of criminals. But there are some things that you can do to help protect yourself. 

  • First, do your research. Check if a business is registered with the Better Business Bureau. Artisan Woodworking Group is not.
  • Second, look for online reviews. Right now, online reviews for Artisan Woodworking Group identify the business and Mr. Tarnuaceanu as a scam and a con artist.
  • Third, be very wary of upfront payments.  Whenever possible, make down-payments via credit card. Credit card payments can be stopped or disputed if the business turns out to be a fraud.

Another good way to detect a scam is to ask for references. Talk to other customers who have had their work completed to their satisfaction. If a business can’t supply references, you probably shouldn’t do business with them.

It’s unfortunate that scammers are out there taking people’s money like this. But the sad truth is, you can never trust a business without doing your research. And that’s why TrustDALE exists. Our prescreened partners are not only trustworthy, but they are also businesses that stand out as excellent in their fields.

When you use a TrustDALE partner, you know you are working with a trustworthy business!

Every TrustDALE partner goes through a rigorous 7-point investigative process to ensure that they are providing a great product, with excellent service, at a fair price. And if anything goes wrong, you know that you are backed up by TrustDALE’s Make-it-Right Guarantee.

So skip the scammers and go to TrustDALE.com for your next job. You’ll be glad you did.

Dale's New Book:
Don't Get Scammed: Get Smart!