Get Gephardt: What can you do if you pay someone to do work but they disappear with your money?

UPDATED: NOVEMBER 18, 2022 AT 11:17 PM

Imagine paying a deposit only to have them take your money and ghost you. When it happened to a Salt Lake woman with a tattoo artist she had used before, she decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.

Eliza Allen wanted some new body art, so she reached out to an artist she knew.

“He had already done a tattoo for me,” Allen said. “Did great work, loved it.”

What she does not love is the fact that this time, the artist seems to have vanished with her money. Allen paid a $150 deposit via Venmo to Brad Snow. But he canceled just before the appointment.

“I get an email saying that he’s going to need to postpone the appointment,” she said.

He postponed – again, and again and again.

“An hour before the appointment, I get a text saying ‘Hey, I’m not going to be able to make it,’” said Allen. “So, at this point I’m really frustrated. It’s been two months.”

Finally, she asked for her money back, which the artist promised to send. But she said he did not, and when he stopped responding to her messages, Allen decided it was time to contact Get Gephardt.

“If you knew you weren’t going be able to do the work, why did you take the money?”

That is not supposed to happen said Zach Whitney, spokesperson with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

“Our investigators are trained to look into those scenarios,” he said.

In fact, in the state of Utah, deposit rules are clear. A business must give you a receipt for a deposit, tell you how long the deposit is good for and refund the deposit if they cannot provide the work.

“I think the biggest thing in terms of deposits and refunds is that a consumer should always make sure that they have everything in writing,” Whitney said. “And they have everything upfront before they give that deposit.”

If a tattoo artist refuses to return your deposit without performing the work, you can file a complaint with the state’s Division of Consumer Protection, and they will investigate.

Get Gephardt tried to reach the tattoo artist to ask about all of this. We found his phone number disconnected, and he did not respond to KSL TV by email or social media.