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Type of Entity
Business ManagementMr. Kevin Davis, President Ms. Lorraine L. Davis, Vp
Chimney Cleaning Fireplaces Stoves - Wood, Coal
236 W Sandusky St
Fredericktown, OH 43019 Directions
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Problems with Product/Service
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Complaint: Purchase Information: Problem Area: Refund or Return Policy Purchase Date: 10/18/2013 Total Price: $3192.42 Disputed Amount: $1825.22 Amount Paid So Far: $3192.42 Description: The constituent said she started the process to install a fireplace. The fireplace took too long (since November) to install, so she had the business remove it. She asked for a refund. She said she received a check for $1,367.20 that she said did not add up. She asked for an itemized list for the refund. She said there is a 25 percent restocking fee, but she said she never signed a contract that states this.
Desired Settlement: Satisfactory Solution: The constituent wants a full refund of $3,192.42.
I have re-read the information sent to the BBB from the AG’s office concerning this complaint, and realized that it does not convey the process that we have been through with this company since October 2013, so I am going to provide additional details here.
In early October 2013 my husband & I visited this company’s showroom to inquire about fireplace inserts, as we currently had a standard open wood-burning fireplace with glass doors & screen, which was installed when our home was built in 2000. Our fireplace is not for looks, but is used regularly during the fall, winter and spring for heating. Because an open fireplace loses quite a bit of heat up the chimney, we wanted to move to a more energy efficient model to both conserve wood and be able to heat more of our floor space.
When we met with this company, we were directed to one specific unit, the Buck 74zc model. The gentleman that we met with then came out to our home later in October to take measurements and give us an estimate. I had also emailed them pictures of our existing fireplace and outside chimney prior to the estimate appointment, so he would have an idea of what our situation was like. When we received the estimate, it recommended the Buck 74zc, so when I contacted the company to say yes to the pricing, they confirmed that it would be that model. At this point I paid the company half down ($3192.42) and scheduled the installation for November 20.
When the installers came on November 20, several things concerned us: 1. They did not leave the “firebox” in our opening, but completely removed all of the old unit and venting. 2. When the installation was almost complete, there were gaps of several inches between the new unit and the side openings, so they cut thin sheet metal and spray painted it black inside my family room, and then screwed it to the side panels of the unit. 3. When the installation was “complete”, the unit was not level (as they had not leveled the subflooring), the upper vents were behind the bricks (so venting was an issue), they had not added any fireboard or additional insulation around the unit, they had removed the original side vent (looks like a dryer vent) and left a hole in our outside wall, siding & drywall, and the unit did not fit the opening, so air was blowing through around the side panels because they were not secured to anything. 4. We asked if they would perform a smoke test to verify correct installation and “draw” up the chimney, but they told us they don’t do that.
I contacted the company within an hour of the installation completion to speak with someone about our concerns. We were passed off to one of the installers, who tried to explain away everything except the unit not being level, which they offered to come fix when they could fit us back into their schedule. Since we were concerned about safety at this point, we never used this unit, but had to cover over the opening with a board and sheets to keep the room at a somewhat decent temperature so we could be in there. At this point we began a back and forth phone and email correspondence with the company about removing this unit and finding one that would fit our opening. This went on for several weeks because none of the units they carried fit our current opening dimensions, and if we wanted to go to any other model, we would need to remove bricks from our fireplace. This was not really an option for us, not only because of the additional work and mess, but because of the additional cost (we had budgeted an amount, and the brick work would be much more than that amount) and the fact that it was now mid-December.
We were trying to give the company the benefit of knowing what they were doing, but by this time we were very frustrated and asked them to find a solution or we would take our business elsewhere. This is when the owner called to tell me about her personal issues that had come up sometime in between our original estimate and the installation, and that it had caused several problems for the company. We opted to try and work things out, so we agreed to have the brick work done & a different, high efficient unit installed. On December 18 the company came to remove the Buck 74zc, and the brickwork was to be completed sometime within the next few days. However, the masonry company kept cancelling and rescheduling, so the work wasn’t completed until Monday December 30.
The brick work turned out to be a complete waste of time and money, as they removed 13 bricks, then re-installed a partial row of ½ bricks to make the opening what they considered the right dimensions. When we measured the opening, however, we were sure that it was going to be too big for the new unit and surround. I advised the company owner of this, but she was sure it wouldn’t be a problem. The new unit that we agreed on was a High Valley 1500 with surround. The stove came in on time, but the surround did not ship with the unit, so when the installers came, they assured us, as had the owner, that the stove would be usable that day because we didn’t need the surround as it was just decorative. The day they came to do the install (January 2), it was snowing hard, so they were able to temporarily set the unit, but not complete the chimney pipe install. They put us back on the schedule for January 4 to complete the installation. The surround was not due to arrive until sometime later the next week.
On the morning of January 4, I received a voicemail from one of the installers explaining that they had been reading the installation manual for the High Valley 1500 and it stated that the unit could not be hooked up without the surround, so they would not be back to complete the installation until the surround was in stock. Needless to say, this did not set well with us, for two reasons: this was another delay, and more importantly, had they completed the installation on January 2 without the surround (improper according to the manual), it would have made our fireplace a fire hazard had we used it.
By this point we were more than concerned about the professionalism of this company, and if we completed the installation, would it be right. But we agreed to see it through, although we told them that if the surround didn’t fit, we were done. We had put up with their poor installations and business practices for over two months at this point.
I received a call from the owner on January 7 apologizing for the unit not being installed, etc., and that the surround would be shipping from the manufacturer that day, and they would plan on completing the install on January 9 or 10 depending on the time of delivery. Please keep in mind that this was the subzero week here in central Ohio, and not only did we not have a fireplace, but our furnace was out for a day as well, so our frame of mind at this point was not very tolerant of their excuses. The installers arrived on January 10 in mid-afternoon without a prior call (as had been promised so I would know if/when they were coming & be at home). When they came in, I told them if the surround didn’t fit, we were done. Initially, they couldn’t figure out how to get the surround on the unit, until they realized they had to remove the unit, place the surround, then re-set the unit in place. After that, they would need to complete the chimney pipe installation from outside. But, the surround didn’t fit – there was a ¾ inch gap between the surround and the bricks, just as I had told the owner there would be after we took the measurements. The installers tried to talk me into letting them screw on a piece of sheet metal to cover the gap, but I refused. I asked them to remove the surround and take it back, and I would be in touch with the owner.
I called the owner the next day (Saturday, January 11) but got the answering machine. I left a message informing her that we wanted the High Valley removed and our full deposit returned to us, as we would be taking our business elsewhere. She called the following Monday (1/13) and began apologizing and offering other options to the surround, which I politely declined and again told her we were done and would like the unit removed and our money refunded. At this point she stated there would be a 25% restocking fee for the cancellation, but I wasn’t sure how that worked since the problems with the installations had all been on their end, not ours. The company did not come to remove the High Valley unit until the following week on January 20, and as they were leaving, they handed me an envelope containing a refund check. The check was in the amount of $1367.20. I tried to figure out where that amount came from, but could not. I contacted the owner again, asking for an itemized breakdown of the refund, but as of today (3/6) I have yet to hear back from her.
Thank you for your time, and I will wait for your prompt response.
On 10/14/13 ***** ***** owner of Buckeye Stoves gave the customer an estimate on replacing the customer’s in efficient ZC wood fireplace with a more efficient unit.
The construction of the customer’s brick face made it difficult to find a unit that fit “perfectly” in the opening. (we sell 20 different brands of stoves and fireplaces and we had 1 that would be the “closest” fit).
10/18/14 10:42 am Customer called in via phone ½ down payment of $3,192.42 via Visa. This is company policy that we get ½ down to get the job going. The customer is not required to play the balance until job is complete. Our Invoice indicates: ALL SALES WILL INCUR A 25% RESTOCKING FEE FOR ANY RETURNS OR CANCELLATIONS
Install date 11/20/13 9:00am . We got the unit installed and the customer did not approve of the 5” filler pieces on the sides of the unit (even though the dimensions of the unit, where clearly stated on the brochure)…… that were added due to the difference in the width of the brick opening and the NEW unit.
The customer came up between 11/20/14 and 12/26/14 to talk to me about another option. As we narrowed down the wood ZC units. We had only a few to choose from and with those few, the brick opening had to be changed by a mason to go with the unit the customer wanted. It should be known that NONE of the units that COULD have been considered would have fit without changing the masonry opening in some way. The customer was trying to put a unit in a masonry opening that should have been 2 x 4 wood framed and this was explained to them many times by myself.
The customer decided on a High Vally 1500 ZC unit. This unit would look as close as possible to an (insert wood stove) which is what the customer’s expectations were. New pipe and a stove needed ordered to make this job complete. ******** agreed to pay for the cost of ****** ******* to come out, cut out the lintel and reconstruct it to the specifications of this new unit. This cost Buckeye Stoves $992.00. 12/30/13 this masonry work was done. I received an e-mail from **** and it included a picture of the new opening and the new opening was 34-7/8” tall. Working closely with ****** ******* the owner and his son explained to **** that the opening would be approx. ¼” taller than the unit and that 1/4” would need to be sealed with mortar or a caulk that matches the grout in between the brick. It is difficult to get mortar work PERFECT. Please note and e-mail dated 12/30/13 4:30pm **** indicates the overlap on the top will be close and she will not accept any “extra” METAL PIECES being attached to surround. (nothing was ever mentioned about caulking or grout).
1/2/14 new install date …… for the High Valley 1500 .
1/10/14 re-schedule install date. The job is complete and the space at the top is ¼” and will be sealed with caulking that matches the grout. Customer would not accept this. They do not want the unit, they want us to come and take it out.
1/20/14 Removed High Valley 1500. Not satisfactory to customer. Customer received a refund check of $1,367.20.
Buckeye Stoves has went above and beyond for this customer, trying to make the job right and pleasing the customer. It seemed like no matter what we did it still was not GOOD ENOUGH.
I tried figuring a 25% restocking fee a few different ways to be fair to the customer. The customer’s total invoice amount was $7,492.91. 25% restocking fee on this amount is $1,873.22.
$7,492.91 minus ****** ******* Fee $992.00 (which Buckeye Stoves paid) to do the masonry work. = $6,500.91 minus a 25% restocking fee = $1,625.22 - plus $300.00 that we charged to remove the customer’s old Heatilator unit. = $1,825.22 (this is the cost we charged customer as a total restocking fee).
Down payment of $3,192.42 minus 25% restocking fee of $1,825.22 = $1,367.20 which is the check we submitted to the customer on 1/20/14 after removal of the High Valley 1500.
I have owned my business for 15 years and we try to please EVERY customer to the best of our ability. Every time we tried to please, **** ******, it was impossible and she is unreasonable.
Last week I just learned that a friendly competitor of ours in Berlin, Ohio. Installed the Napoleon NC26 Zero Clearance Fireplace, for the ******’s which was (1) of the fireplaces we gave the customer an option on, but she chose the High Valley 1500. So, Buckeye Stoves absorbed the cost of one entire unit plus the labor and pipe. The masonry work that we covered the cost on that now **** ****** has benefited from on her new unit installed.
Please find attached to this response copies of emails, documents we received from Buckeye Stoves, and pictures pertaining to the installation of both the Buck 74zc and the High Valley 1500. The emails, documents and pictures will verify the facts presented to your office in an email from me dated 3/6/14.
This email, which is in response to Buckeye Stoves’ response to the Better Business Bureau dated 3/17/14, will include additional information to support our belief that Buckeye Stoves did not provide timely, quality customer service in the installation of our fireplace(s).
In October 2013 when we first went to Buckeye Stoves, we spoke with ***** and he recommended the Buck 74zc, and offered to come out to take measurements of our then current fireplace and chimney, in order to provide us with an estimate for installation. When ***** came out to our home, he spent a short time taking measurements, and affirmed that the Buck 74zc should work as a replacement for our fireplace. At no time did he sit down with us and explain 1. That because we have a non-masonry chimney we are limited in fireplace/stove options 2. That the dimensions of our opening would not work for any unit on the market (including the Buck 74zc that he was recommending) 3. That we should consider removing bricks to accommodate for a new stove/fireplace, nor did he ask us what our desired objective was for wanting to replace the original fireplace.
As of November 20, 2013, the day the Buck 74zc installation was scheduled, we had only received an ESTIMATE dated October 15, 2013 from Buckeye Stoves. Please note: there is no mention on the estimate of a 25% restocking fee (see attached).
As stated in my earlier email to the Better Business Bureau on 3/6/14, we had several concerns with the installation of the Buck 74zc, not just the 5” filler pieces attached to the sides of the unit.
We met with ******** on December 16, 2013 to discuss stove options to replace the inadequately installed Buck 74zc. At that time, she recommended the High Valley 1500, but this unit could only be installed if we agreed to have masonry work done to accommodate the specified dimensions of the unit. We agreed to the unit and to having masonry work completed. She offered to contact a local masonry company that Buckeye Stoves frequently employs, and would have them contact us to schedule an estimate.
After meeting with the masonry company, we received an estimate of $1985.00 to remove two partial rows of brick and move the steel support bar. This quote was much higher than we had expected or budgeted for, so we asked ******** if she would cover this cost. She offered to split the cost instead, which we agreed to ($992.50 each, our amount paid directly to the masonry company 2/3/14).
The brick masons came on December 30, 2013 to do the brick work. Once the brick work was complete, the mason measured the new opening and said it was correct for the new unit, but he measured to the steel bar (which sits under the open row of bricks), not the actual brick itself. The measurement he gave to ******** was the height that was needed for the new surround of the High Valley 1500 to cover, but when I measured the opening to the brick, it was ¾” too high, meaning there would be a gap between the surround and the bricks. I called ******** to explain this to her, and also sent an email with a picture showing the new brick work. At no time did anyone mention caulking or grout as a viable option to fill this opening.
On January 2, 2014 the installers came to install the High Valley 1500. As stated in my earlier email dated 3/6/14, the installation was not completed due to weather conditions. When the installers returned on January 10 to complete the installation, there was a ¾” gap between the new surround and the brick across the top of the opening. At this point in time I asked the installers to take the surround with them and said I would be in contact with Buckeye Stoves.
I called the owner the next day (Saturday, January 11) but got the answering machine. I left a message informing her that we wanted the High Valley removed and our full deposit returned to us, as we would be taking our business elsewhere. She called the following Monday (1/13) and began apologizing and offering other options to the surround, which I politely declined and again told her we were done and would like the unit removed and our money refunded. At this point she stated there would be a 25% restocking fee for the cancellation, but I wasn’t sure how that worked since the problems with the installations had all been on their end, not ours. The company did not come to remove the High Valley unit until the following week on January 20, and as they were leaving, they handed me an envelope containing a refund check. The check was in the amount of $1367.20. I tried to figure out where that amount came from, but could not. I contacted the owner again, asking for an itemized breakdown of the refund, which I did not receive.
******** states in her response that she charged us $300 for the removal of our original heatilator unit on 11/20/13, but the estimate we received states “This price includes removing old prefab fireplace and pipe and replacing with new unit and chimney.” Therefore, the $300 should not have been included in the refund calculations.
Buckeye Stoves came highly recommended to us from several friends and acquaintances. As customers, we relied on the expertise of Buckeye Stoves in recommending the best product for our situation, believing that the company would take the time to ask us questions, offer suggestions, take measurements, explain what options we had and how they would proceed depending on our decisions. The information I have provided in this response, along with my email dated 3/6/14, clearly shows that Buckeye Stoves did not provide timely, quality customer service, and we therefore we should receive a full refund.
Thank you for taking the time to review and help resolve our complaint with Buckeye Stoves.
If I have ever learned anything in life, it is this........."There are ALWAYS two sides to every story". It really is true.
In this case with **** ******, I have read her response and below are the high points that I disagree with.
1. The customer DID receive an e-mailed copy of her invoice on 10/18/13 at 10:42A.M. We keep our records via QuickBooks and our e-mails, are sent through QuickBooks themselves. I have a call into the company to prove this fact, as our regular Microsoft Outlook program will not show the date and time stamped. Although I show and e-mailed stamp with date and time on the "file copy" of the invoice, which is our in house copy of the invoice. To piggyback with this information, this is the same time the customer's credit card was ran for 1/2 down payment and she committed to the job. It is company policy to e-mail or mail all invoices to our customer's. It is out of my control what happens on the customer's end. We assume the customer has received the invoice unless we hear differently from them and in this case we were not aware. The customer has to take some responsibility for this. Please note the customer indicated in the original complaint that she did not sign a contract with Buckeye Stoves. The 1/2 down payment is the binding commitment that the customer has given their approval to start the job (ordering process, schedule install date, etc. etc). This is what makes the "small business" go round. Most consumer's understand that concept and then the restocking fee indicated on the invoice sums the rest up. (see attached invoice).
2. Buckeye Stoves referred a local mason to the customer. We do not "employ" or sub-contract anyone and have not for 15 years. The decision to move forward with the masonry work through the mason we referred was the customer's decision and the monies were paid directly to the mason. Buckeye Stoves was attempting to satisfy the customer and show fairness by covering 1/2 the cost of the masonry work. At this point the customer could have chosen to cancelled the job.
3. As we knew the masonry portion of the work was very important. The mason measured the opening and clearly explained to the customer that there may be a 1/4" or less gap at the top of the unit because of the lentil (which is the support/metal piece). This very small gap can be sealed to match the grout. The masonry company explained this to **** ****** (the gap was NOT 3/4" it was 1/4"). Attached is an e-mail **** ****** sent me along with the masonry photo, *** is the masonry business owner. The result of this is the customer did not like the 1/4" and I offered to get a NEW custom surround (at no extra charge) that would fit PERFECTLY but that was not acceptable.
4. Again, I will address that we really tried to 100% please, this customer, When issues arise, you address them and we tried to do that, but it was NEVER good enough. The customer even states in the third paragraph from the bottom........."the problems with the installation had ALL been on their (Buckeye Stoves) end, not ours". I have 5,000 customer's and this is the first complaint I have ever had in 15 years. It takes some "give and take" on both parties to work together on jobs. In our business each job really is different, almost custom, if you will, and they are all not going to go as we intend, but it is how you handle the job that counts. We really have tried to make the customer happy, but could not.
I would like to say the "removing of the unit" was a scheduling conflict with both parties. We wanted to remove the unit as soon as we could.
The dispute here is the amount of refund **** ****** received. I made a FAIR decision on the refund. 25% restocking fee of the total invoice amount, less masonry fee's and removing old unit which equaled $1,825.22 (indicated on the dispute response). This amount was then subtracted from the customer's down payment of $3,192.42. which is how I arrived at the refund of $1,367.20.
This refund is fair and just. Everybody must own their own business to appreciate the small business owner's. I am happy to answer any additional questions pertaining to this matter.
Make it a great day!!
At this point in time, we are unsure how to respond to ********’s most recent comments about this situation. It seems that we have two very different viewpoints of how our business dealings were handled, and a resolution seems impossible.
Please understand, we are not conceding this dispute, but we are tired of arguing. We could dispute several of the points that ******** made in her response, because they are not accurate, but we believe that would only prolong this situation, which has been one big stressful fiasco since Buckeye Stoves came to install the Buck 74zc on November 20, 2013.
We would consider this dispute resolved if:
1. Buckeye Stoves refunds the $992.50 that was withheld for brick work from our payment, because, as she stated, she agreed to pay half the cost. This means her payment should come from her money, not our payment, as we had already paid our half directly to ****** ******* (check # 105 on 2/3/14 in the amount of $992.50). By her withholding the $992.50 from our payment to Buckeye Stoves, we essentially paid the entire amount of the brick work, which was not the agreement.
2. Buckeye Stoves refunds the $300 withheld from our payment for the removal of our original fireplace unit. Per the ESTIMATE (NOT INVOICE) we received on 10/15/13 (attached in last response dated 3/31/14) the cost of removal was included in the ESTIMATE total. Nowhere is it listed as a separate charge.
Thank you for your assistance and we await a prompt reply.
This dispute is resolved on Buckeye Stoves end. I will not refund any additional monies to this customer, for the reasons below.
If there is a problem with the brick work **** ****** may consider contacting ****** *******, as we are not do brick or masonry work. Don't mistake that **** ****** is "benefiting" from the work ****** ******* completed, The final unit she chose (that is currently installed in the fireplace/chase) had to have brick work done, to make this unit fit. I know this because once again, as mentioned previously, the Napoleon NZ26 was 1 out of a few units that Buckeye Stoves presented to her that would work in her application, with changes to the lentil/masonry.
Once again, my decision about the refund was made when the refund check was printed and delivered to **** ******. It is fair and just and that is final.
Make it a great day!!
We are not disputing a problem with the brick work. We are disputing the fact that Buckeye Stoves used our deposit money to pay their half of the agreed upon amount for the brickwork. That money ($992.50) was taken out of our refund amount per ********'s earlier reply to the BBB. We paid our half directly to the brick mason in February. Therefore, we paid the entire brickwork amount instead of half as agreed upon with Buckeye Stoves.
All of this is detailed in earlier replies to the BBB as well as email copies that I attached.
Please accept this email as notification that my husband and I will not be pursuing arbitration for complaint *******. This decision was not made lightly, but at this point in time we do not believe that the BBB will be of any assistance to us. I have also mailed a copy of the accept/decline arbitration form, but knew that it would not be received within the 10 day time limit.