A Bell County woman is demanding her money back after she said a contractor agreed to fix up her house and disappeared with the money.

Desiray Hinds told Channel 6 she paid A.G. Professional Services $3500 to move her to a new house and do repairs on that house. She said the company did provide moving services but then said a few days later they could not currently do the rest of the job because a partner dropped out.

Hinds asked for the money back, but A.G. Professional Services Owner Andrea Garcia didn't give it back. Garcia told Channel 6 News over the phone that her company did some of the work and should keep some of the money. When asked how much, Garcia said her lawyer advised not to say.

So will Hinds see any of the money returned?

Adam Price with the Better Business Bureau told Channel 6 Hinds has several options available.

The BBB can seek to mediate these situations as long as the business has a mailing address. If the offending business is already on the BBB website, they will want to keep a good score. The mediation may not be as effective if the business has no listing or has a mailing address at home however.

Price said the contract will also make a major difference if the consumer wants to sue, or get the state attorney general involved.

If a consumer wants to have the best chance of recovering their money when a contractor turns bad, however, they need to check off the following before handing money over.

  • Make sure the contractor has personal references and a legitimate physical address.
  • Look the company up on BBB.org and read reviews.
  • Draw up a contract that says exactly what needs to be done and how much will be paid for it.
  • Do not pay more money upfront than you can afford to lose.

If you can't find any proof that the contractor has done prior business in the area, Price told us it's best to look elsewhere.

“The key here is…how much business have they done in the past,” BBB Regional Director Adam Price said. “If they’ve only been in the market for two months and they are new to my area, that might be a red flag.”