The local TV news program did a story on our problems with the contractor, Ray Hernandez. Did a pretty good job, but I don't think they covered just how much we investigated the contractor before signing the contract. We did check the BBB, Angie's List, did a Google search. Nothing bad turned up. The problem was he had just started the company, so negative reviews didn't have time to appear. Lots of companies don't appear on Angie's list in our area. Also, lots of decent companies don't join the BBB. I guess a personal name search might be useful.
Added 1-13-2013 I've just discovered Hay Hernandez also operated under the names of A.I.G. Construction and Handyman Depot. Both of those get F ratings because of the same scam tactics. The company just prior to us was AF Construction. It has a F rating at the Pasadena TX BBB. I don't doubt he is operating under a different name by now.