I own and rent out a townhome in the ********** complex in ***** ***** It had a very old fence around its back yard, built in the early 1980's. It had been built extremely strong, but recently the tenant had complained that the fence gate was no longer functional, and I found the fence overall to be in bad shape. So I decided to get it fixed. I contacted First Fence in August, 2014, and began to work with their salesman, ****. I described the situation and asked **** to examine the fence and give me an estimate for replacing it. **** emailed me a proposal (I can provide a copy) and we discussed it over the phone. **** offered an option to replace with a different style, a single-layer privacy fence. I refused,
noting that the existing double layer fence (what he called a board-on-board) was built so heavily that it was actually much more private than the privacy fences around some of the neighbor's yards. Eric agreed and said they would build the same style of fence. So I signed the contract, got the permits, and scheduled the installation.
After the new fence was built (on 2014/9/22), I went out to examine it. On the drive over, the neighbor of my townhome called me to complain that they had built a completely different new fence. When examined it, I found this to be true. It was of the "same style", but was a much lighter fence, and non-private.
I called First Fence to complain. There were several phone calls with ****, during which he emphasized that I had gotten exactly the fence I had specified. And that perhaps I didn't understand it would look different because First Fence "uses higher quality, thicker boards". I eventually found photos of the old fence and compared them to the new fence and found what the real problem was (I can provide comparative photos).
Measuring the old photos versus the contract shows that the primary difference between the fences is that the old fence had a two inch overlap on each side of each board, and the new fence was specified with only a 1/2 inch overlap. The result is a much lighter, non-private fence. So **** had written up the contract with very different measurements from the fence being replaced. He never asked whether he should make these changes, never mentioned that he had made them, and never explained that the new fence would look very different from the old fence, despite my emphasis that I wanted a similar looking, very heavy duty, private fence. Since I'm not a fence builder, I did not understand the measurements in the contract (until my later research), and he never tried to explain them. He just said I was getting the same fence and I believed him.
I escalated my complaint to *****, First Fence's sales manager. We spoke several times, and then met at the fence to discuss. ***** informed me that this may have been resolved if I had met **** while he was taking measurements of the old fence. That is possibly true, but I don't believe it was my responsibility to measure the old fence. In short, ***** was unwilling to fix the fence, and placed the blame on me for not personally specifying the measurements in the contract, and for not understanding the differences between what the contract said and my previous fence. He emphasized that his company had built the fence that the contract specified, and that it was my fault the contract didn't specify the correct fence. After much disagreement, including threats from ***** to take me to court if I didn't complete payment on the new fence, he offered to either have me pay him an additional new fee to build another new fence (which he offered do for "little or no profit") or to give me a discount on my fence of 7.5%. I was unsatisfied with these options, and choose to do no further business with First Fence.
*****, First Fence's sales manager, was clear that no settlement, beyond the ones they offered in the above description, would be reached, and that I was free to post online reviews as I felt necessary. So I am posting this review to various review websites, including the BBB.
Thank you for the letter regarding a fence that was installed on September 22,2014. We appreciate our clients taking the time to outline everything for us.
The customer requested a 25% discount "to make them happy." Since the fence was installed per the signed contract, there was no reason to accept the request. Since customer satisfaction is our primary goal, we suggested a 7.5% discount (or we would rebuild the fence at cost) as a good faith gesture.
Unfortunately, a face to face meeting to write up the original proposal never took place because the customer would not meet at the job site. We hypothesize that if this business transaction were discussed in person, and in detail, this would never have been an issue.
Since the customer would not meet us in person, our salesman was directed to "just match the existing style of the fence." A contract was written up including all of the specifications and construction of the fence.
The customer signed the agreement and the work was completed per contract.
Over our 25 years in business, First Fence has install numerous fences in the ********** association with no recorded complaints.
We regret that our client would only be happy and not write negative reviews on social media for the 25% discount.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I'd like to correct a few inaccuracies in the response from First Fence.
1. My request for refund was for 20% of the contract, not 25%.
2. I did not refuse to meet with the First Fence salesman to discuss replacing the fence. It went more like this:
Me: "Do we need to meet, or can we do this over the phone?"
Salesman: "Over the phone is fine. Saves you a trip out there."
At that time, I thought this was very nice. Turns out it was a mistake on both sides. I would have been happy to meet to discuss the fence if the salesman had said we should.
Final Business Response
Our apologies, this customer requested a 20% discount to make him happy. There was no reason to give a discount since the work First Fence completed was done per contract. It is unfortunate that a face to face meeting did not take place.