Home repairs are an issue most people deal with at one point or another.
Demetrice Allen says she realized work needed to be done in her house about 3 years ago.
“I was having trouble with the pipes in the bathroom. The water would come out really slow and then it got to the point where it was having trouble going down, not working, things like that and I think it started because it’s a 100-year-old house,” said Allen.
She found a plumber on Facebook named Travis Burbidge.
“We were communicating until he got here so I thought he was a really good person. I thought he was going to be the one that could help us.”
Allen added Burbidge gave her a list of supplies needed to get the job done and wrote up a contract for her, guaranteeing his work for 3 years.
“He was supposed to get those pipes connected so we would have water throughout the entire house…the piping he brought back looked like white water hose. He said it was a new type of plumbing.”
Burbidge later told Allen he was having trouble getting to the pipes in the crawlspace in order to connect them.
She said he thought the pipes were under the floor in her backroom, so she allowed him to tear up part of the floor.
Allen said, “He said, ‘Don’t turn on the water until tomorrow because it has to
Allen didn’t have running water for a whole week.
She had to call another company to get it back on, which costed her more money.
She spent at least 5 months calling, texting, and Facebook messaging Burbidge, but heard nothing.
“I felt hurt. I was upset because I gave him almost $1,000. It took me some time to even get that money. Being a single parent I don’t have money like that.”
She hasn’t heard from Burbidge since December 2016.
“I feel in my heart that if he knew he did nothing wrong why would he not answer the phone? Why would he not answer the text messages? So apparently he knew he did not connect that,” said Allen.
Allen showed Heart of Illinois ABC her basement so we could see what Burbidge left behind.
There were bricks and pipes off to the side and one pipe that wasn’t connected to anything.
Burbidge’s number that was on Allen’s contract is disconnected.
He never responded to Heart of Illinois ABC’s Facebook message.
After we typed his name in the search box, there was a post regarding Burbidge from Pekin Police in 2017.
He was arrested in connection to a residential burglary in January of that year.
There are also numerous comments on the post complaining about his handy work.
“Nobody wants to touch his work. They say they either want to take it all out, rip it apart…but nobody wants to go figure out what he did because they said it’s so rigged up…The one plumber said the pipes go through the crawlspace like everything is working but they’re not connected which is why there’s no water,” said Allen.
Allen has to have knee surgery so the first floor bathroom has to get fixed as soon as possible.
This situation impacted her kids too, one of which has down syndrome.
“When the water isn’t working he can’t be independent. He’s not the type of young man that wants you to bend over backwards for him.”
Allen said if she ever heard from Burbidge she would want her money back, so she can hire someone else to finish the job.
She thought about taking legal action but added it’s not in the cards for her.
Heart of Illinois ABC found out Burbidge is in the Department of Corrections.
He could get parole next month, but if not he won’t be released until 2021.