The main claim to fame of Spike TV’s Catch a Contractor is its play off To Catch A Predator, Dateline NBC’s pedophile-busting hidden camera show. However, Predator didn’t make the creep stick around so they could dissect his pervy plans. Catch A Contractor, on the other hand, makes crooked contractors finish the job they originally backed out on while hosts Adam Carolla and Skip Bedell castigate them.
Why anyone would agree to a televised shaming session on this level isn’t immediately clear. Now a lawsuit from one of the contractors alleging false imprisonment, fraud, and defamation has brought the show’s tactics to the forefront:
Plaintiff Dillman alleges he was told the cameras were “for an unnamed home improvement show,” and was given three options by a TCAC producer: return the money; walk away and have his company name mentioned while assisting the homeowners with their suit; or sign the release, appear on the show and complete the remodeling project.
The suit claims Dillman “had no choice but to sign the release” and was paid $10,000 for his participation on the show. Dillman was allegedly told that if he signed the release, “there would be no claim on the bid bond.”
The episode aired on Mar. 23, 2014, and Dillman alleges the defendants brandished a photograph of him and Bedell called him a “criminal.” On the episode’s airdate, Derman replied to a Facebook comment asking if the show was similar in style to Dateline’s To Catch a Predator. “Yes Tiffany Marquez! Adam carolla [sic] busts a contractor, who touched me in naughty places,” he replied.
The contractor also claims the show employed a “bouncer” to keep him from bolting, hence the false imprisonment charge. When faced with the prospect of a lawsuit spearheaded by the show’s production company, it’s no surprise many contractors accept the $10,000 lube and bend over for our viewing pleasure.
This might seem terrible if you’ve never seen the show, but there’s rarely an episode in which you don’t end up wanting to punch the subject in the face for bilking families out of five figure sums. They usually tear up the home, poorly install a few items, create serious safety hazards, then disappear.
On a karmic level, the show is in the clear. Legally, I guess we’ll find out if this case ever makes it to court.