PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) – A local contractor says he thought it was a godsend when a company offered to help him recoup money he was owed.

Now, however, Chris Welch, owner of Welch Air Conditioning, says he feels cheated and wants to warn other small business owners about the California collection agency known as Financial Adjustment Solutions.

“You feel like you’ve been violated,” said Welch.

Down $40,000 for a construction job Welch was never paid for by a builder, the air conditioning expert received a call out of the blue from a company claiming to be an expert in debt collection.

Welch said Financial Adjustment Solutions told him it could collect his unpaid bill for a fee.

Welch paid $5,262 to Financial Adjustment Solutions for what he thought was a legal retaining fee.

Since then, the company has done nothing, according to Welch.

He isn’t the only one upset.

Nathan Lee of McDaniel Funeral Homes in Illinois told KMOV, the CBS News station in St. Louis, that he received the same call from Financial Adjustment Solutions.

Lee paid more than $16,000 upfront.

A year later, the only money the company has collected came from Lee, he says.

CBS 11’s I-Team, with assistance from KMOV, tracked down the man behind Financial Adjustment Solutions in California, Andre Green.

Green said the company was “understaffed,” had “reckless employees,” and was in “financial trouble” – all factors that he said contributed to Financial Adjustment Solutions’ failure to provide all of the services it had promised.

And now, Green said, the company does not have the money to reimburse all of its upset customers.

“I wasn’t really there that much to be honest with you,” Green said.  He added that if he’d spent more time at the company, “this would have maybe not happened. I’m sorry.”

The Better Business Bureau in Dallas has given Financial Adjustment Solutions an “F” for failing to address customer complaints, and warns other small businesses to use “extreme caution” in dealing with the company.

However, lodging a complaint with the company may have become more difficult because, since Green talked to the I-Team, listed phone numbers for Financial Adjustment Solutions appeared to no longer be in service.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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