8 On Your Side: Polk homeowner worried about safety after electric system upgrade

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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland homeowner who paid to have the electrical system upgraded in her home claims she has been left with a mess.

Melynda Rinker contacted 8 On Your Side after fighting for months to get back the nearly $6,000 she paid for the job. Rinker claims she did everything right. She looked on Angie’s List for a reputable company, and went off excellent reviews.

“I checked that they had a license, I checked that they had insurance, they had it all,” said Rinker.

She thought she found the perfect company to upgrade the electrical system in her 101-year-old Lakeland home: Andress Electric. That is, until the work was finished, or so she thought. The City of Lakeland inspected the electrical work and approved it and she paid Andress Electric.

But, she started noticing things weren’t right. “Outlets were crooked in the walls, they had cut the backs out of receptacle boxes,” Rinker said.

“That is a definite fire hazard,” City of Lakeland Building Official Dan Gargas confirmed.

She tells 8 On Your Side the last straw was she woke up in the middle of the night and her pacemaker monitor wasn’t working. “The breaker popped, as they often do now,” Rinker said.

She contacted the city, who sent another building official to inspect her home. They found 26 code violations. “It definitely proved that those workers needed some additional training and supervision. Quite a bit,” Gargas said.

Months after that report, Rinker claims nothing has been fixed.

8 On Your Side wanted to find out what’s the hold up. We went to the address listed on the Andress Electric website. The building is empty. We called and spoke with the owner of the company, Marshall Andress, who said he wanted to speak with his attorney and did not want to go on camera. He did say he has every intention of fixing the problems.

Rinker isn’t buying it. She wants something done before it’s too late. “I don’t feel safe that I’m not going to come home and find my home burned down.”  She wants her money back, and money to cover whatever damage they left behind. She also wants an apology.

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