Contractor Trying To Rip Us Off?

10 Replies

Hi BP,

I am having an issue with a place that was supposed to reface our kitchen cabinets, put new hinges on with out any mess as advertised all within 3-5 days. 

Without further ado, here is the story

My friend payed 3k upfront (half total). When it came time to do the work about 2 months later the worker was late for our 8am appt and he called to reschedule for 9 am. I ended up having to wait until 11 am for this guy to get to the house thus missing a lot of hours at work. I told him he needed to be on time the next day because I have work. That same day he ended up leaving the house by 2pm! Only 3 hours of work?! The next morning the guy is late again and there is stuff all over the house and kitchen (advertising said could use kitchen and accessible), it was a disaster zone and he left it overnight! My friend called the company and they transferred him over to the franchise store responsible for this and it was mostly a non-answer. Fast forward a few days and the job is still not done as advertised in 3-5 days. My friend gave the company a call again and then they sent the guy over to our house unexpectedly at 6pm and he stayed until 9pm to finish the job. They forgot to order doors for the lazy susan and the hinges are not the correct type plus they forgot all sorts of things we are paying for. He stated it would be about 2 weeks to get the materials needed. It has been over a month and they are just now getting back to us after we contacted them multiple times. The refacing is now warped on one of the surfaces (air bubble looking). I then had to get involved by calling for my friend and the lady was rude in the way she was talking with me. They sent an email with a date the owner and worker would come by 5 days ago and now they are trying to reschedule again because I am guessing they don't want me there to negotiate. I was not rude or intimidating on the phone so I can only assume they want to take advantage of my friend. I want this taken care of, with compensation, right now. 

They will be at a 3-day home show in 3 weeks near me where I can talk to them/flier cars not to use them/stand outside their booth telling my story until they give me my money back. I have considered filing with the contractors board and they also have a store in my town. What is the best way to get these people to give us our 3k back and fix the damage they have done (the previous cabinets were not warped and the lazy susan had a door)

If you can offer advice on this situation I would be very grateful as well as my friend.

Best advice would be to get estimates from other contractors to fix and finish the job. When you find someone call the contractor you now have and tell them they are fired. They may or may not demand payment and may or may not threaten to take you to court. I would ignore their threats. You then proceed to have the work completed and take the first contractor to small claims court for compensation. 

The approach you are suggesting to badger and demand your money back is not going to have any results. If you are serious you must take them to small claims after you pay to have their work fixed/completed. Without having the work completed and a actual cost in hand you have very little case.

@Cody Evans Fix the damage?  Do you really want them coming back?  I'll assume this is an investment property that you have that you either want to sell or want to rent.  Fire them, get another contractor, finish the work, and get it rented or on the market.  All of this other stuff (filing a complaint, small claims court, etc.) is secondary to getting the property "right".  And if you're going to take them to court I'd hazard to say you need to know what it's going to cost to finish the work.  "Hey judge, Company A didn't do the work right, damaged the kitchen, here's 100 pictures, and here's the bid and receipt for the completed work from Company B."  

I guess you can go hang out at a home improvement expo but they're paying for a booth, I'd imagine they will call security, so good luck with that.  And it's not like anyone at the booth is going to have $3K in their pocket or the ability to write you a check or will leave with you that day to come to your home to do the work.  What's worse, they'll might tell you what you want to hear (if they don't call security) and it will be another 30 days of frustration (with no results) and you still won't have a kitchen.

What you might want to do (if you don't want to go the small claims route) is call one of those local TV reports.  There's usually one reporter in each market that's "Tom on your side" that want to go hassle the solar company, plumber, etc. so they "make it right".  And I'm pretty sure no local business (or franchise) wants to end up with cameras in their face, have to issue a statement, be on local news saying "no comment".   

Please say you paid by credit card, if so charge back and then show them pictures lol.

@Thomas S.

Thank you. Is taking them to court to get compensation likely to result in success for us? I will talk to my lawyer but how many other people have been in a similar situation? 

Update: After asking for a price reduction they told us $95.

Originally posted by @Cody Evans :

@Thomas S.

Thank you. Is taking them to court to get compensation likely to result in success for us? I will talk to my lawyer but how many other people have been in a similar situation? 

Update: After asking for a price reduction they told us $95.

 no need for lawyers in small claim. Winning increases if you get opinion/bids to make repairs/finish the job.

If you got a lawyer on tap though have him write a letter for you if you don't have time for court.... but you got time to go put fliers on cars I think you got time for court lol.

@Matt K.

@Thomas S.

@Andrew Johnson

This cabinet refacing is for my personal living space. The supposed owner came by a week or 2 ago to take a look and offered us a $400 discount to redo the job which in my estimation is ridiculous. He said a week ago that he would come by today, but we had said we arent sure about schedules and never confirmed. Apparently while at work he came by and my friend let him in thinking we wanted that. He fixed warping on a side cabinet, but the new space where he added on corbels had a piece already peeling off and one of the corbels wasnt even attached to the top surface! Then we discovered next that another piece of cabinet is warped! AT what point does this end? We already allowed them in twice. The guy got mad when we showed him the video of what we had discovered and yelled "I'm talking to my lawyer!" and then stormed away in his van.

What is the best course of action after this?

You need bids (3 should work) to fix this from licensed professional. Then either take the guy to small claims and Sue for the bid ammount probably the most straight forward approach.

Gather proof/examples of what was promised, what was done, and what needs to be done to make it into what was promised.

@Cody Evans Franchise companies, they only are there to sell leads and help wanna be business owner change their system. The main trade is the owner itself, so if he is not a tradesperson, you’re out of luck. Anyway, small claims AND CSLB is your mode. Both will, and make you pay the original agreement or compute whatever is the balance, so given your situation, you have a 6k contract with a 400 discount, then 5,600 is your max less 3k down, you’ll have tonpay 2,600, that’s worse case scenario. Both will require you do extensive text/email/registered mail and other means and that you will display that you have exhausted all efforts but to no avail, you then have to get at least 3 bids according to your original agreement, including fixing the damaged done by the contractor. So say for CSLB your next contractor will quote you 8k to fix the previous’ damage and bring you the product, you will then have to pay the surety bond issuer (contractors bond with cslb) the 2,600 and they will go after the contractor for the whole balance, 8k less 2,600. Now it is the same with small claims, but you will have money 3k (downpayment) and 2k (8k new less 6k orig contract), 5k which is the maximum. Of course this is pure business common sense and what i understand the law is on a perfect scenario. no legal advise given.

So what do you think are my chances of winning? I really don't want to let this company back into the house plus however many times more after when something else goes wrong but I really don't want to pay twice as much and for his legal fees.

Originally posted by @Cody Evans :

So what do you think are my chances of winning? I really don't want to let this company back into the house plus however many times more after when something else goes wrong but I really don't want to pay twice as much and for his legal fees.

 We can't tell you your chances, we have no idea of what your expectations are vs what was promised. If you have reasonable expectations and you've been able to document the poor quality of work you probably have a high chance of winning. This is small claims no lawyers... Even more so if you have bids from other professionals showing the poor quality of work and that it requires fixing. 

Now if you get bids to fix it, but it's not actually poor quality and you're just being picky... then you'd probably lose. Not saying this is you/the case, but you need to be prepared that will probably be presented that way. To combat that make sure your evidence is measurable and straight fwd so that the judge can easily see your side. Leave emotions and other unmeasurable things out of it.

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