ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. (May 1, 2014) — After seven months of frustration, Darlene Kohn said she’s very happy. She said $1,500 owed to her was returned.
“The first thing I want to do is thank the FOX 17 Problem Solvers, because you solved my problem,” she said.Her problem with a chimney repairman is finally over.
Kohn hired Chimnee Cricket of Lansing last fall to have her crumbling chimney fixed. She gave owner Christopher Cerrito a $1,500 cash deposit to start the work, but she said he disappeared, and the work was never done.
After seven months of getting the runaround, she contacted the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.
“After seeing the piece on the news, [Cerrito] called and said, ‘I’m coming with the money,'” she recalled.“I said, ‘I think I’ve heard this story before,’ but he actually did show up last night.”
Kohn said he showed up around 6:15 p.m. and paid back the $1,500 and gave her another $200 for the trouble.
Kohn and her husband had been frustrated by Cerrito’s lack of response.She said he failed to honor the contract he signed in September. Kohn tried to do what she could on her own to get results.“So I go to the website that he had listed on his ad, and it was the franchise headquarters,” she said.That was in November, and after her complaint with Chimney Cricket (different spelling) in Florida, she said Cerrito demanded she immediately withdraw her complaint. Then she made a phone call to the company headquarters.
“[The] week before Thanksgiving,” she explained. “They said, ‘Oh yeah, you want to talk to Christopher?’ And they shot me over to his phone number.”
“I think he didn’t realize [the call] was gonna be me because it came out of headquarters,” she said.
Despite the fact that their website is printed on Cerrito’s advertisements and, Kohn said, she communicated with them over her case, Chimney Cricket in Florida said they are not the company headquarters. They own several franchises across Michigan, but they said they are not connected to Cerrito’s business which is based in Lansing.
However, FOX 17 leaerned that the owner of the Florida-based company and the other Michigan franchises is actually Christopher’s brother, Jon Cerrito.
Kohn said she corresponded with Deputy Morgan Sullivan with the Allegan County Sherriff’s Department. After the deputy got involved, Christopher Cerrito called Kohn back. She played Cerrito’s voice messages from early April.
“I want to get this money to you immediately,” he said on the recording.That didn’t happen. However, just one day after our story aired, Cerrito did the right thing.He called FOX 17 Problem Solvers May 1 and said, “I just wanted to give you the heads up that I returned the money to the Kohns.”
Darlene Kohn said, “I can move on. That’s what I plan on doing is moving on. But if I have another problem, I’m coming to you guys.”
Christopher Cerrito offered to fix her chimney for free. She told FOX 17 she declined to do any more business with him.
Chimnee Cricket of Lansing has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we found several complaints on the web. Make sure you do your homework before hiring any contractor.