4 years out of my home
Some of the worst contractor vs homeowner horror stories are related to hurricanes. My home was in the path of a direct hit by Hurricane Charley in 2004. There were 3 other hurricanes hitting the home that year after the initial damage. Everyone was scrambling to find contractors. My initial damage was mostly roof--it came off--so I hired a roofer. The next few hurricanes caused mold damage inside the house, and I got sick from the mold & had to move out. My roofer heard me talking about the new construction needs. He said 'we have a construction buisness too--we'll do it for you' Good I thought. They gave me an estimate drew up a contract. Insurance settlement was bumpy but went OK. I planned to add a bit of money to the insurance monies to upgrade a few things. Bought all new doors for the house, new awhirlpool tub, which the contractor said they'd install--instead of providing them for me. Work went slow. They kept saying they'd be out on specific days, weeks later one person would show up and putter around for an hour or two. They wrecked my yard and sprinkler system bu getting a cement truck and 4-5 pick up trucks stuck in a post-5-day-rain-muddied yard. They actually had to bring in a semi-size wrecker to pull everyone out. Then they refused to fix the yard. There was an add-on porch suppose to be constructed--9 months after signing the origional contract when they had never even measured, let alone put in a footing, I figured they had no interest in completing the porch. They didn't even get a work permit until I asked why one was not up. They called me one day screaming at me that the roof was completed and I should give them the final payument, but when I went to open the front door I got soaked by a bucket size downpour of rain from the roof, I looked up to find neither the gutters, nor the fascia & soffits they promised. The insurance company wanted a final signed off copy of the roof permit-to prove the roof was done. Contractor said yes he had that and faxed me a document that I later discovered was a falsified copy of the permit that falsely claimed the roof had passed inspecdtion. After soffits and fascia I did give them the last payment for the roof. Subsequently I fopund out the roof finally passed the final perit-required inspection 8 months after I paid the final payment. They almost destroyed the interior of my home, left ceiling fans hanging not attached to any electricity, ruined the air conditioning system, ruined the interior painting, ruined a dark stained pocket door by giving it one (see-thru) coat of white paint. Destroyed the lovely dark stained wood interior trim. Then when they told me they could only replace it with an off-white or white product and I said I wanted 'anything but white' they ignored me and put everything in in white anyway, a cheap product. They were paid the draws despite the fact that they didn't accomplish much of the required work. Then they walked off the job leaving the house a mess and in unlivable condition. For the 1st 9 months of that period I lived in a tiny RV size FEMA trailer in my front yard. FEMA tehn recalled all trailers for use in Hurricane Katrina. I went to live in a tiny condo. We've mediated, gone thru arbitration (and won). They refused to pay the arbitration sum. Now we're scheduled to go to court. It has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars in legal and court fees. Taken away my whold savings. I've been forced to change jobs because of it. Almost lost out on the adoption of a child I'd stated adoption proceedings on way before the hurricane hit. It has been more than a nightmare. Yet, I'm luckier than some--I was able to find the contractor--he didn't dissappear like so many others did. The adoption did go thru finally and I have a lovely little girl. I'm a widow and am trying to take care of all this all alone--boy it's been a learning experience. This is now 2008 I havn't been able to live in my once lovely, home for 4 years, and it will probably be some time in 2009 when I can move back in--if I don't lose the house in the meantime. Well that's my horror story...
Re: 4 years out of my home
.. and a truly horrific one it is, too!
I hope you get it all resolved to your satisfaction.
Re: 4 years out of my home
Unfortunately, you are far from being alone. I think most of us have more horror stories than good ones about contractors.
I'm so glad that you posted this and I hope other people will take a few hints from your experience.
1. Always get multiple estimates.
2. Be wary of the one man band. If someone says they can do electric, plumbing, drywall and install your septic system, they aren't a spe******t. Especially when it comes to major damage or contaminants like mold, you need a spe******t.
3. Don't be nice. The moment you think there is an issue, discuss it with the contractor. Then don't wait around for it to be fixed. If you don't get immediate satisfaction, go to the next step (withholding money, going to court, etc).
4. Finally, remember we are human and emotional but try to keep that in check. Just because we all want our projects done quickly, we all want to pay a low price, etc. doesn't mean we should look the other way when things start to go wrong.
What you've been through is horrible and this disgusting human being (as well as anyone who worked for/with him) should be tied to a palm tree on the beach the next time a hurricane is about to head your way.
Re: 4 years out of my home
That is terrible. What part of Florida are you in?