Metro Detroit contractor accused of taking paralyzed man's money

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 18:57:30-05

A man paralyzed since a car accident is working to build himself an accessible house, but he says one contractor set him back by taking his money and not doing the job.

Russ Kurtzhals says he called Tri Star Plumbing in Southfield and asked the company to give him a quote for a sewer hook-up. 

They sounded professional on the phone, he said. Owner Pirvis Brothers came out, spoke in detail about the job and offered a contract right away.

“Their catchphrase is your money won’t go down the drain.” Kurtzhals said. “But it will go out the window.”

He says he paid the required 50 percent down payment of $4,250. The problem? Kurtzhals says the company never showed up as scheduled to do the job.

Weeks passed. The owner of Tri Star Plumbing would schedule to meet Russ at the house to give him a refund.

“So I would go out there and wait all day. No call. No show. I just knew then I was probably taken for a ride,” Kurtzhals said.

He started doing research that he now wishes he had done earlier. He found reviews online from people saying they paid for work never done.

He found what appeared to be a state plumbing license on the Tri Star Plumbing Facebook page. In the license, the word plumbing is spelled incorrectly. 

The word regulatory is spelled incorrectly. Plus, the address comes back to a wig shop in Southfield, where the owner says she doesn’t know Pirvis Brothers or the company Tri Star Plumbing.

7 Action News reached out to the state. We were told Pirvis Brothers is simply not licensed to work as a plumber in Michigan.

7 Action News got a hold of Brothers on the phone and asked about the license. He said it is his father’s license. The state, however, says it isn’t anyone’s license. It is counterfeit and under investigation.

We asked if Kurtzhals would get his money back.

“The situation is we didn’t get the job done for him in a timely manner and we owe him the deposit, which we will give back to him very soon,” said Mr. Brothers.  

He specified the payment would be delivered this week. 7 Action News will be monitoring whether this happens.