Need to vent

jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)July 12, 2006

I am so sick of trying to hire contractors to do work. Either they don't answer your call or they don't show up when they are supposed to or they have hidden costs or the work is sloppy.

We like to do as much as we can ourselves but time is always an issue and my husband still suffers from chronic pain from two hip surgeries so we are having to hire contractors when necessary.

My lastest frustration was getting wood floors and carpet installed. Five years ago we had some wood flooring installed and I went with a local company that had been around for years - they had a decent reputation but not what I would have considered top end. I had a wonderful experience with them, the installers were professional and did a beautiful job, no extra costs involved and never had a problem with their work. They went out of business a few years ago. With so many businesses folding and having had a problem several years ago with another business that folded right after they had my money but never delivered the goods, I decided to go with one of the "big box" stores.

What a mistake! After six weeks I am still waiting for them to finish the work. The salesman did not write up the contract as I requested so that caused some issues with the installers on two different occasions, namely moving the refrigerator (see below). Shame on me for not having him specify that in the contract but according to my lawyer brother-in-law they broke the law by not including it in the contract. After the contract was done, the salesman informs me that I have to pick up the wood. Huh??? Or be charged a 50.00 delivery fee. On top of that the salesman insisted that I needed roof felt to put under the wood floor, even though the estimator did not include that and it is to be laid on vinyl. And of course, I have to pick that up too.

The wood installers left scuff marks all over the walls, one wall was a total mess. But since the salesman omitted that I had requested that they move the refrigerator in the contract, we made a deal that if they would move the refrigerator I would re-paint my just painted walls. First of all, what the heck am I supposed to do with a refrigerator for two days while they install flooring? I think I never should have made that agreement with the installers but I was really trying to make this whole installation process smoother. And the roof felt, they had no idea why the salesman insisted I needed it so of course I had to take it back!

After the wood installers leave I notice that the top nails show. I know it is standard practice to top nail the last few rows since they can't get to it with the nail gun but the previous installers used nails with small heads that you can't even see. I call and they say they will order wood filler for me. Now I HAVE to go around and fill the holes. I personally think it's going to be noticeable but am willing to wait and see. And I really would rather do it myself so I don't have to take time off from work to have them do it. I'm not sure what to do about the few places where they top nailed with STAPLES! I have called four times about getting the filler and am still being told that it is on back-order. Just let them try and charge me for this filler.

The carpet was installed a month ago and I am still waiting for them to come out and fix it. Where the carpet meets the wood transition stips it is just laying there, it is not in the tack strips, you can pick it up with your fingers. As of right now, the seams still show - is that normal? They are due to come out on Friday after 5 calls to get it scheduled.

They have these customer service reps who keep calling and asking if I am satisfied with the carpet installation and I keep telling them that I am STILL waiting for someone to come out and fix it. Wouldn't you think they would KNOW that? What really got my dander up was when one of these customer service reps shows up during the carpet installation and I found her wandering around in my basement! The installers were not down there, what the heck was she doing??

I know that in the overall scheme of things, that these issues are small - I've heard of bigger nightmares. But geez, does it have to be this hard????

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aye yiii yi! the problem is they don't care how good a job they do. they got your money! my head is spinning. hoops, hoops, hoops, why is life a 25 ring circus and the whatshisface seemingly nowhere to be found. now i feel bad, i feel like i just called God, whatshisface. hmmmmm. i'll shut up now.

hope things straighten out for you soon, jeanner.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 11:53PM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)


I can sympathize with you. I wanted to have a black and white checkerboard ceramic tile floor installed in my new house before I moved in. I moved into the house in October and the floor still wasn't completed by the end of March. I went with a small business not big box store because I like to support small businesses. I like dealing with the "mom and pop" stores. Think you get much better service. I just dug up my notes (in the event we ended up in court), and they are five pages long. Don't want to bore everyone with something that is thankfully in my past, so I will just list a few.

Contractor didn't bring his own rubber gloves to acid wash the floor. He opened every box of hair dye (I buy and stock up when it's on sale), and took the rubber gloves to use.

He went into my cupboard and used my measuring cups to measure grout.

Used my cleaning products to clean my floor (I didn't realize this till much later).

Used the towel I hung in my kitchen on microwave oven cart to wipe my dogs paws when he came in from the muddy yard to clean up grout.

Our contract stated I would pay half before they started work, then the other half when work is done to my satisfaction. They called me week before Christmas to tell me they couldn't work on floor till holidays were over, but could I please submit the balance since it was over $3,000 outstanding. Excuse me what do you think I was born yesterday? You will get the rest of the balance upon work being completed to my satisfaction. They laid ceramic tile in my sunroom and foyer too, with no problem. Oh, yes there was a problem with the sunroom. I took my last two weeks vacation to babysit them while they installed the floors. When I walked past the foyer to go to the bathroom: "What the %#*%, Oh no they didn't. The foyer was to be bisque ceramic tile, it was black and white checked. Would you want that to be the first thing someone sees when you open your front door? Since they were working in the kitchen I made them rip it out before it dried. They weren't too happy with me at this point. He told me nobody told him. Excuse me I'm paying you to do this, I shouldn't have to babysit you. Don't you have a copy of the work order on the jobsite? He didn't. He had to call his boss to verify that is what it should be.

You have my sympathy, my ear to vent, and my shoulder to cry on. Out of frustration I finally decided to go with different tile as badly as I wanted to stick with the retro theme of the house. Of course having to rip out a ceramic tile floor after it was installed was a whole different issue. All of this could have been prevented if the idiot would have used grout release before he grouted the tiles. Had he done his job right I would have had a black and white floor not a grey and black tile floor. The black grout stained the bisque tile gray. They blamed the tile manufacturer, the grout company. It was everybody's fault but theirs. Just because their worker put the grout down and went outside and talked on his cell phone for two house before wiping up the grout, didn't mean it was their fault.

They had two reps come out and clean the tiles on their hands and knees as well as a ceramic tile restorer come out and professionally clean the tile. It took him a whole day. They kept convincing me it looked better. I kept asking if they would want this floor in their kitchen.

Said I didn't want to bore you with my complaints, but I did just that. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Just glad to have the nighmare over. Have faith, you'll get there. My family kept telling me. It's the last thing you are doing to the house, one day it'll all be over. They were right. As a matter of fact I like this floor better than the retro one. Of course it kind of clashes with my retro ceiling fan, but at least I have a kitchen floor I can live with.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 9:52AM
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I know that there's nothing much you ladies can do now that it's all over (and I'm SO sorry to hear about those awful expriences!!), but would contacting the Better Business Bureau even be an issue? Maybe protect someone else in the future? Not sure if the BBB would even deal with something like what you both experienced.

As bad as my temper is, I can't imagine letting them get away without at least a full-blown cuss session, as well as letting them know that I would tell everyone I possibly could to NOT use their business EVER. I'm sure that last part goes without saying, though. :)


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 10:08AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Jenny, what a nightmare! I knew someone would have horror stories too but yours sounds like a major headache. My issues are really minor compared to all that. I think when you pay the "pros" to do the work, it should look like a pro did it. I know I need to give them the oppurtunity to fix the problems but I have come to the conclusion that I hate having strangers in my house. I was cringing the whole three days they were here.

The bad news is that the carpet installer came out today and said there wasn't much he could do about the problem - he is blaming the floor installers. It really made me mad when he told me he already knew what the problem was before he even walked in the door. Apparently he was hoping I wouldn't notice or I wouldn't complain about it. He made an attempt to fix it but it is still loose and now I have a big lump in the carpet. And no, it is not the shape of the carpet installer although I was ready to shoot him!

I called the installment customer service after they left - I probably should have waited until I calmed down but at least yelling got me to a supervisor this time. She was really good - she told me she would call me back to set up a time to come out and look at the problem. I think she knew it was best to give me some time to cool off. We had a good discussion about all the problems and she is coming out in the morning to have a look at it. So just maybe this will end soon.

And so far I've not paid a dime.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:42PM
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zinniachick(southwest Ohio)

Oh, Jean, I'm so sorry. How maddening. You already know this, but DO NOT PAY THEM until you are sure you are happy, and this could be two months after they've solved the problelm. This is standard business practice and don't let them tell you different. I've had outstanding luck with subcontractors in the three years I've served as my own general contractor, but the one time I blew a few thousand smackers was when I paid B&B Fencing of Dayton before giving myself a few days to decide how I felt about their work. Their work is subpar, to say the least, and now I have no recourse despite more than a year of phone calls, promises, etc.

And I say name 'em, name 'em loud and name 'em often. It's the least they deserve.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 11:05AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I hear this!!! My contractor dissappeared. I have a half done bath remodel and some tiles that weren't properly set. (Three different colors in a checker pattern and a boarder)I tiled the entire house. I don't like wall to wall carpet. I'd looked at jobs he'd done and got referals but he decided to go bad when he was working here! He later caused a whole lot of problems and I had the tile place calling me to find him. At least I didn't let him buy his own supplies!(Went with and babysat *sigh*)Word to the wise: Don't sign off on stuff at the store.NO OPEN ACCOUNTS FOR SUPPLIES! Go buy it with them or send someone else you trust and will now owe a huge favor. I've heard of people giving money to contractors and having them not pay the supplier. If you sign off on it they will demand you pay them even if the contractor took your money and didn't pay them! Any money you're not prepared to lose go with them to buy supplies! Also, I heard of them lying about what they buy and letting you buy them tools!

My sunroom started to leak.The sunroom company's people thankfully. They didn't patch it correctly when they installed the fan. It looked like a 12 yr old did it. Thankfully, I'd caught on by then. ALWAYS babysit. I sat up on the roof in the TX heat while the new guy repaired it. We chatted and I was friendly but the job was done right this time! I was right there. It's wrong to have to babysit but that's how it is.
I understand the temper part. I will have to control myself if I ever ran into this clown. Don't you wish if someone ripped you off you'd have the legal right(or at least no jail time) to punch them in the nose? I'd bet getting a pop on the noggin might make people think twice about doing this sort of thing. PJ

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 12:27PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

You have entered the world of business as usual. Even the best contractors will screw up. I've always done a lot of building projects myself so I always babysit and ask loaded questions when I see something not done right. One contractor called my husband and asked if he could make me stay away. LOL. He didn't get the right answer because that was the fourth house we had built. Another fell over me when he left the construction trailer every morning. I had my little list in my hand and followed him every where. I didn't shut up til he took care of it. Later he saw one of my own projects and offered me a job. ROTFLMAO. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 6:53PM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)

While the floor was being installed I still had possession of my old house so I would drop my dog, Apache, off at the old house in the morning and pick him up when the contractor left. Apache is a good dog but he barks constantly whenever I have someone over working. Well since they took so long to finish the floor I had to call my vet for tranquilizers so they could finish the work. John (the biggest idiot) had to come back to acid wash the floor one Saturday when Apache was there. My house has an alarm where the door beeps whenever you go through it. The idiot kept opening and closing the door (like every three minutes). Think he was smoking and kept going out for a puff. Everytime the door opened Apache would start barking. It seemed like everytime Apache would lay down John would open the door. After about an hour John stuck his gead in the living room and said "I can't finish this, I have to get out of this house before I go deaf. Can't you stop that $#@&* dog from barking". With that he threw down his tools and walked out. I immediately called the company and asked to speak to the manager. His reply: "You have to understand John was bit by a dog yesterday while he was laying a floor at another customer's house. Not everyone likes dogs the way you do." I told him "I did not want John at my house ever again, dogs have a good instinct when it comes to a person's character and if my dog doesn't like him and he got bit by another dog, that tells me a lot." They tried to send John to my house on three other ocassions. I had to tell them they would never see the balance if they sent John again. When they were pulling up the black and white tile I knew immediately when John pulled in the driveway because Apache tore through the dining room, jumped the gate and almost went through the door. Apparently these people are "stuck on stupid" and couldn't understand why I refused John entry to my house. The manager was there too and couldn't believe I wouldn't let John help tear up the floor (they would have got done faster). Needless to say I never tranquilized Apache after that. If they couldn't listen to him bark they could just stay the he*& out of my house.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 10:43AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Well the saga continues ...

They sent out their "expert" wood installer to assess the situation. He wrote up a page of problems - problems that we hadn't even noticed. The biggest issue is that the floor was not laid according to code. Apparently there should be 4 - 6" overlap between the joints so that if one board starts to buckle, the next board will not. We have places where the joints only overlap by 1/4", and not just a few but alot of joints - I'm guessing 10% or more. Furthermore there are a couple of places where the overlap is insuffiecient for 4 or more rows at the same place. Not good.

Luckily they have agreed that the whole floor has to be redone. WHich means 3 more days of work that one of us has to be here and we will obviously be watching more closely. I am also getting a copy of the installation instructions from Bruce floors (the manufacturer).

We were asked if we wanted a different installer and I said yes. That means that the original installers will have to pay for the wood and for the new installers time to rip up the wood and put down new.

Thats kind of a dilemnia for me - I know we have the right to request a different company and the original company obviously made a mess of the job, but it was three young kids and I'm sure that this will be a hardship for them. Their boss is coming out tomorrow as he wants to see for himself was what done. My husband feels they shouldn't even be allowed to rip up the old considering the mess they made of the walls so he has agreed to meet with him.

I'm not looking forward to the mess it will create when they tear up the flooring and I told them they need to bring a vaccuum and a dust rag and be prepared to clean the mess up.

Arrggh, I just want this done and over with!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 10:29PM
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okpondlady(7a Oklahoma/Mounds)

Over the Christmas holidays of 2005 I wanted to have my house rewired since the kids would be gone and out from under foot for awhile. Well since it was an entire rewire, and the old wiring was asbestos insulated, the electrician insisted we had to be out of the house. We spent a week in a motel while he ripped apart my house and rewired it. I never did figure that part out because we had to move the furnature away from the walls before we started this and after we got "done" it was still out. There was sheetrock dust everywhere and I don't know how there couldn't have been asbestos dust also. I didn't specify THEY had to move the furnature nor clean up after themselves. I assumed (funny me) that it was part of the job. I would never leave a job like that... it wasn't done. It took us another week to clean up the mess. It was horrible. I saw a flyer of the man's business in a local business later and commented I would NEVER use him again. I guess the lady knew him or something She was upset that I said that and ask me why. I told her he did the wiring great but the mess was awful. She looked down her nose at me and ask if I had it in the contract for him to be a Maid... or an Electrician. I should have known better from the get go.. he used to be the Manager of the Electronics Dept. at our local Lowe's...errrr BBS.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 4:37AM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)

Oh Jeanner:

I really feel for you. When they had to tear up my ceramic tile floor I literally taped the kitchen in newspaper. I am still cleaning up ceramic tile dust today. Even though the cupboard doors had newspaper taped over them the dust got on every cup, dish and saucer.

Make them work around your schedule. That's what I did. I used all of my vacation last year to babysit them the first time they installed the floor. I told them they had to work around my schedule since they were the ones who screwed up. They came on weekends and evenings. They weren't happy about it, and it took longer, but they did it.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:11AM
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Well, as far as the first company's mistakes, Jean, I wouldn't feel too badly about the 3 young kids. They obviously don't know how to do their job, and it would be a shame if they were allowed to continue on to do other folks' homes (that is, if they even get fired).

I agree with your decision to let another company do the fixin', while making the first, incompetent one pay for it. And I sure hope it goes according to plan this time!!!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 1:26PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Jenny, I am feeling your pain :^). We took up the wood flooring that was there (another long story) and attempted to salvage as much as we could so I know how much dust and wood splinters it generates. I am mostly worried about it getting into the new carpeting and I sure don't want to have to replace that too!

The good news is the owner of the installment company and two more installers came out today and agreed that the floor had to be redone. So at least no battles there as even though the fight would have been with the BBS I am sure we would have gotten involved too. He just shook his head. They pointed out some additional issues that were wrong with it. I am seeing now that the original installers made no attempt to do it right so maybe this will teach them to take a little more pride in their work.

The real shame is all that wood flooring is going to go to waste. I doubt they will make any attempts to salvage it, it will be alot faster to rip it up with a crowbar. I jokingky suggesting to my husband that we take it up and add it to the pile that we already salvaged but if looks could kill ....

The other good news is that I am not going to be terribly concerned about keeping it clean in the next couple of weeks while we wait for the wood order!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 9:41PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

The saga continues ...

The decision was made that the floor needed to be replaced, everyone agreed and we were told they would be ordering the wood. After not hearing anything for a month, I call them and find out that they forgot to order it. Then we were told they were not going to replace the whole floor and the sub-contractors wanted to send more people out to look it. After discussing this with my BIL lawyer we told them that no one else would be coming out until we had something in writing from the BBS that they were going to replace the flooring.

Yesterday they came out and ripped out the flooring and today they began installing the new wood. I spent most my morning trying to get a hummingbird out of the garage and when I came in I knew immediately that the flooring was different than what we had before. I pulled out the excess pieces that we had saved and compared them. The right wood was ordered but it is entirely different than what we had the two previous times. Even the contractors agreed that it looked like different wood, not just the natural variations that inherent to wood flooring. My husband took samples of the old and the new to the BBS and they also agreed that it looks entirely different. They are sending both samples to the manufacturer and asking them to be sure that the next order is the same as what we had previously, and what matches the store samples. I was really tempted to just accept it to have this over and done with. But it just didn't look right with the molding and cabinets.

SO it's still not done. Now we wait and hope they don't forget to order it again.

Is it ever easy????

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 9:48PM
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oh, jeanner!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 2:46AM
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That is so ridiculous, Jean! I can feel my OWN blood pressure rising, and it's not even my floor!

Having it in writing would be such a relief. They seem to think they can either out-wait or out-talk you, and when it's in writing, they can't pull any of that.

I sure hope you get your floor DONE (correctly) soon!


    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:22AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

We returned the flooring to the store today - easier than having them pick it up and having to wait for them. Was sent to the service desk, the installed sales area and the flooring department. Maybe I am paranoid but it seemed like everyone knew who I was - I'm sure they were all whispering "Watch out - it's her!"

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:47PM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)


Haven't seen any posts lately. Hope everything is going OK. Any updates on the floor from hell?


    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 7:59AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

I'm still here and thanks for asking about me :^)

The latest is the new wood is in and scheduled to be installed next week. The customer service rep says she checked every box to be sure it was the right color. Unfortunately next week is a really bad time for us as my husband will be out of town for business and I have to participate in a Disaster recovery test which means I will have to work a straight 24 hours. I can work from home but I won't be able to get any sleep afterwards as they will be here then. But if they don't do it next week then I have to wait for 4 - 6 weeks if I want the "best" guys to do the install. I have a coworker that has volunteered to help out with the test, I think he's worried I will end up in jail if they look at me wrong after being sleep deprived!

And I have been pulling staples/nails every night. They deemed it was not necessary to pull them out after ripping up the bad floor job, they were just laying the flooring on top. But the area where they did put down the wrong wood just doesn't feel right to me - when you walk on it there is an ever-so-slight crackling sound that wasn't there before. I'm sure we are being anal about it but at this point I want to be sure there are no more problems. I think if I absolutely insisted they pull the staples, they would as they know we have plenty of ammunition but I am tired of the battle and would just rather do it ourselves.
Besides I am tired of snagging my socks on them!

SO hopefully in a week we will be done and we can eat at our table again .... she says with fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 10:36PM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)

Will cross my fingers for you too, and my toes, my legs, my arms and my eyes.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 8:13AM
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Or you can even sleep at your table, Jean! :D When the workers see you with your (sleep-deprived) death stare, I bet they'll get it done RIGHT this time. LOL

Don't work too hard!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 8:34AM
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