Homeowners Lose Thousands in Deposits, Blame Local Window Treatment Vendor

Homeowners hired a South Florida company to install custom window treatments but after losing thousands of dollars and not having the work done they called NBC 6 Responds.

Grace Matthews contracted with Elegant Windows by Design to install custom window treatments in her Broward County home.

More than ten years ago, the company’s owner Mark Block, installed window treatments inside Grace’s home and when she wanted to update her home’s look she called Block back in 2018.

"It held up, the quality of work was just phenomenal," Grace said.

The total job was estimated to cost $4,600. Grace paid a $1,000 deposit and says when Block dropped off temporary blinds he asked for more money.

"He said 'well, I have already ordered everything and I used my own money to order everything just give me a check for $1,800 and we will get everything squared up and get you squared away,'" Grace said.

Last November is the last time she says she saw him. In May, she called NBC 6 Responds. When we looked into the company we found similar complaints online.

One person wrote: "Do not do business with this company. He takes your money and disappears." Another wrote: "ordered July 2018… Still no blinds or drapes."

NBC 6 Responds found four complaints filed with The Florida Office of the Attorney General. Nestor Lopez filed a complaint with the Florida AG’S office after he says Block never returned to install his custom window treatments.

"Please before you do any business, check the reviews of the people. That’s really important," Nestor said.

He says he handed over a $7,000 deposit check but no work was done.

The AG’S office told us they are investigating but said in a statement that "efforts to contact the company in attempt to obtain responses to our complaints have not been successful to date. As a result, this matter has been escalated to our Consumer Protection Division and has been assigned to an investigator to look into further."

Since 2018, court records show three civil cases have been filed against Elegant Windows by Design in Broward County.

Craig Sutton filed a civil case against the company and won his case with a default judgment.

"He asked for a 50% deposit so we paid him by check for $2,000," said Craig.

Craig says in November he hired the company after seeing an ad in a popular home improvement publication.

"He showed beautiful pictures of the work he has done, he told all kinds of great stories of how happy his customers were," Craig said.

After handing over the deposit check, he says he never saw Block again.

NBC 6 did reach out to the publication where Craig initially found "Elegant Windows by Design." They told us they have immediately removed the listing from their website.

"If we would have looked at more reviews, we probably would have caught that this kind of thing was going on before," Craig said.

In March, one homeowner in Parkland filed a police report after he says Block took a $7,000 deposit check and never returned.

Block was arrested and charged with grand theft. The charges were dropped.

The State Attorney’s Office wrote "There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not intend to perform the work at the time he received the money."

NBC 6 Responds reached out to Mark Block but he didn’t answer our phone calls or emails. We also went to the listed business address but when our team caught up with Block he did not comment.

Grace made her initial deposit on her credit card and was able to dispute that charge and get that money back. Both Nestor and Craig have yet to get any of their deposit money back.

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