Call for Action: Fencing company leaves families out thousands with no work completed

MADISON, Wis. — The pandemic has provided many families the opportunity to focus on home improvement projects – but it’s also the reason one company says it couldn’t help a dozen customers who were left without their deposit money and the work that was supposed to come with it.

Annalise Cannon is one of those customers. She says she did her research and picked Ideal Fence of Madison to help put in their new fencing because of the company’s longevity in the community. But after paying $5,000 in a deposit in early April, Cannon’s communication with Ideal Fence became spotty.

“Eventually we just stopped hearing from him,” she said. “Then in September we finally asked for a refund after he had not showed up after multiple promises of ‘next week, next week.'”

Heather Sullivan has a similar story. She paid $1,000 to book Ideal Fence for fencing around the same time as the Cannon family.

“Around about the middle of July we hadn’t heard anything… so we waited. End of September rolls around, nothing, still nothing. We tried calling them, emailing them, I sent them registered letters, and we got nothing.”

We were able to get ahold of Ideal owner, Scott Bronson, over the phone. He’s now facing almost a dozen small claims cases from customers like Annalise and Heather. He blames his unfinished work and lack of communication with customers on a COVID diagnosis over the summer, telling us he was in the hospital for eight weeks altogether.

“You wake up, you can’t walk, you can’t move your arms, you’re all tied down with the tube down your throat,” he said of his intubation process.

Bronson declines to provide a specific timeline for his hospitalization. He says he had no one else in business with him to keep in contact with customers.

“We are not ever going to take somebody’s money and run,” Bronson said. “I was born and raised here in Madison, I’ve been putting in fences since 1985 and I’m not going nowhere. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Bronson, though, says he can’t give Cannon or Sullivan a refund until he can sell their materials. He also can’t provide a timeline for when that might happen.

Call for Action is getting an answer for Cannon, though. We reached out to another fencing company, Struck and Irwin, who agreed to get her project in early and give her $1,000 off the bill.

“We knew we had a family that was in a bit of a pinch from a timeline and financial standpoint, and to see the Struck and Irwin team come together was great,” said Tom Raemisch of Struck and Irwin.

If you have questions about your contractor before you begin a home improvement project, the Better Business Bureau has a list of advice for you here.