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Eastside window business accused of ripping off customers goes out of business
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas --
Window Gallery, an east El Paso window business off the 9400 block of Carnegie, has gone out of business, and disconnected its phone number, according to the Better Business Bureau.
KFOX14 previously reported on the Window Gallery in September when a woman alleged she had paid the business thousands of dollars for work that was never completed, and that the owner, a man named Terry Hew, was ignoring her calls and texts. Hew's son, who worked at the business, called the woman a liar, said she was just trying to make a name for herself, and said she never reached out to them, though receipts, signed contracts and text messages presented to KFOX14 by the woman suggested otherwise.
Since that story aired, several other people contacted KFOX14 to report similar situations.
One of those people was Claire Ellis, a nurse at Del Sol Hospital who signed a $10,000 contract with Window Gallery to replace 19 windows and two patio doors.
"They did about 80 percent of the work, and then I couldn't get a hold of them again," Ellis said. "Every single week there was an excuse as to why he couldn't get the work done, and then they just stopped returning my phone calls."
Ellis said she paid more than $9,000 to Hew, but its where that money came from that makes the situation heartbreaking.
"It was my dad's life insurance that I used to get the windows done, to get the house comfortable for my mom," Ellis said. "My mother is on hospice, my father passed away the year before my mom was on hospice. He left life insurance for my mom, so with the money we fixed up the house to make it handicap accessible for my mom. The remainder of the money my mom wanted to use to replace the windows to get the house more energy efficient."
Ellis told KFOX14 she is furious with the situation.
"Oh, I'm very, very angry about it," Ellis said. "He met my mom, he saw that she was on hospice, he saw the situation. I was in taking care of my mom, an autistic brother I'm now caring for after my dad passed away. He knew that, and he knew how important this was to my mom, and it just doesn't seem to bother him to rip off people."
KFOX14 tried calling Window Gallery on Tuesday, but the line was disconnected.
Reporter Bill Melugin also stopped by Hew's home, but nobody answered the door.
The suite Window Gallery had been using off Carnegie was dark, abandoned and had materials scattered all over the floor. It also had no markings.
KFOX14 spoke with the landlord for the complex where the suite is located. She said they hadn't seen or heard from Hew in quite some time, that he still owed them money and that we would not be allowed into the building if he returned.
Ellis had a direct message for Hew as well.
"Terry,you met my family, we referred people to you, and it's just not an ethical thing what you did. It's just horrible and I would appreciate you finishing our contract," Ellis said. "You just need to do the right thing. You said you were a very honest person. You talked bad about other window companies in town, how they aren't honest, and it turned out that you're not any better."
KFOX14 was told Hew had filed for bankruptcy, but the station could not find confirmation of that.
The Better Business Bureau is recommending anyone who has lost money to the business to seek legal advice.