Non-Responsive to Issues - Repairs Needed, Some Still Incomplete 3 Months After Closing
On July 19, 2013, we did a walk-through of the house before closing on July 24, 2013. On this walk-through, several issues were pointed out and noted by the contractor. One of these issues was several stains on the cabinets which the contractor wrote on his list and a 3rd party witnessed the contractor trying to rub off the stain with his finger and was unable to. This issue is still unresolved 3 months after closing. Several requests have been made to the contractor and several contact attempts have gone unanswered.
Part of the contract to purchase the house included sodding the front & side yards as far back as a $1,500 allowance would go. The contractor verbally agreed with our agent present to "put a hose out there and water the sod." However, he did not water the sod claiming it rained when the sod was put out. We closed in the afternoon of July 24, 2013 and moved in the next day, Thursday, July 25. The sod was already completely brown and the ground was extremely dry. (We had a kitchen table delivered on Friday, July 26th from Rooms To Go and the delivery person commented about the grass being dead.) In a conversation with the contractor after this, he mentioned having his landscape subcontractor look at the yard and mentioned needing "1 pallet of sod" to replace the dead areas. To this date, this still has not been done.
Also, a crack has developed running from the ground to the roof - this was on the side of the house in which the gutter was left pointing straight down and several feet from the ground. Several hundred if not > 1,000 gallons of water was standing underneath the house. All of this contributed to the advanced settlement of the house. Pictures of the crack were texted to the contractor. The contractor sent an engineer to diagnose - speaking with the engineer, he recommended underpinning the foundation. To this date, this repair has not been completed nor has it even started. The contractor says he needs a letter of recommendations from the engineer. In a phone conversation with the engineer on Thursday, Oct 17th, he said he would work on the letter and "get it out" that day yet attempts to contact the engineer and contractor about this have gone unanswered. The engineer originally visited our home to inspect the cracked bricks on Sep 24, 2013.
Related to the lack of professionalism and level of service - several other items including issues pointed out during one of two walk-throughs on the house before closing were never completed by the contractor. We performed these repairs ourselves - it includes pressure washing the walk, removing the dirt piled on the road in front of the house, installing screens on windows, wiring & installing the garage door opener on the garage wall. Other items that were eventually fixed by the contractor took weeks to months to fix and only after several contact attempts. There is a long history of unanswered messages sent to the contractor. It takes weeks to even get an answer and requires several attempts. The contractor has made several statements promising to contact the cabinet subcontractor of the landscaped subcontractor but neither sub has contacted us to make arrangements. When we ask the contractor for phone numbers to contact the subs directly, these questions are unanswered.
We would like for the cabinets to be repaired and the dead sod replaced as promised before Oct 31, 2013.
Also, the contractor's engineer recommended the foundation should be underpinned to resolve settlement and the cracked bricks. The contractor agreed in a phone conversation to this repair at his cost and use the engineer's recommendation that ************************** (***) perform the repairs. We would like for this repair to have started by Oct 31, 2013 or *** to have scheduled a repair with a definite completion date.
Some of the items have taken longer than they should, I agree. But as to the unanswered calls and messages. There was always communication. At times the communication was that we were waiting on something or that a sub wasn't going to be there at the time expected. As of this moment the only remaining item is *** under pining, which they have been out and the repair is scheduled.
Of the 3 items originally reported on this case, only 1 repair has been scheduled, not completed. We still have no word about repairs of the cabinets nor replacing the dead sod
Since opening the case on 10/22/13, I spoke with the cabinet sub-contractor on 10/23/13. He told me Southern Ventures never had mentioned to him there was an issue with the cabinets and they do not take 3 months to fix issues. So apparently, Southern Ventures never told the cabinet sub-contractor there was an issue even though the item was pointed out, **** from Southern Ventures clearly saw the spot and made an attempt to rub off the spot but couldn't, and then noted it on the list of items before closing. The cabinet sub-contractor told me on 10/23 that "he'll figure out a day he can make it and let me know" - however as of 11/26/13, he still has not contacted us to set a date for fixing. I called for him on 11/8/13 at 4:17 PM but got voicemail - I left a message but still have not heard back.
I contacted **** from Southern Ventures via text message on 11/8 and said neither the cabinet sub-contractor nor the sod sub-contractor has attempted to contact me to schedule repairs. His last reply to this was conversation was the letter "K" in a text on 11/8/13 at 5:21 PM. I have heard nothing since.
So it's now 4 months after closing date and we still have unresolved issues with no indication whatsoever when or if they'll be fixed. Southern Ventures/**** ****** has certainly acted unprofessionally and makes no attempt to apologize or fix what's wrong. Had we known we would be treated this way, we would never have purchased this house from him. We absolutely disagree that his business deserves an A+ rating with BBB and would not recommend to anyone purchasing a house or doing business with him.
There has been communication, that has been our biggest problem. The cabinet shop was made aware of the nail holes on our walk-through. ***** the owner was out for a long period of time, he had brain surgery. I told the guy feeling in about it. The homeowner also communicated directly with the shop. Things didn't not go smoothly while he was out. After there was direct contact with them, I assumed it had been taken care. I take responsibility for not following up to make sure it had been done. *** has also since been out and taken care of there issues. I agree our dealings have been less the desirable, there have been too many miscommunications, that is my fault. I hope now the ******* can enjoy their home for a long time. I hope down the road we can look at the house as a whole and see that other than nail holes in the crown, sod that died, and settling that was beyond anyone's control that they live in a quality home that they enjoy. There are definitely things I could've handle better.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
There is a discrepancy in what the contractor has said here on this case and what ***** the cabinet shop owner says. ***** claims that he never heard from **** about any issue with the cabinets. The two guys that came two weeks ago to fix the cabinets wouldn't comment when I said ***** mentioned he never heard from ****. They also said they knew nothing about the stain, they were only told to come fix the holes.
The two guys from the cabinet shop did replace the crown on the cabinets with the mis-matched filler and this time did use mineral spirits to clean their finger prints off where they had filled in the holes with putty. They also did clean the stain with mineral spirits but it did not come completely off - there was still a noticeable stain. When they asked if it was acceptable, I replied my wife would have to look at it first when she got home from work that evening. She did look at it and said it's acceptable given the alternative is for them to rip out the entire cabinet and replace which is where the refrigerator is and our fine wedding china - she does not want to have to move all the china out again and risk breaking it. We have put a basket in front of the cabinet to basically hide the stain. The cabinet shop guys said it would've been much better had they known about it in July and the stain didn't have an opportunity to set in like it did.
As for the crack in the bricks, there still is a lack of communication. *** said they are not finished. They said because of the cold temperature they could not cut out the cracked bricks and replace the mortar. They still have to come back. Also, they came up to the door last Wed afternoon to tell my wife they were finished for now and about having to come back when it's warmer and asked if we were paying for it! Clearly, there still is a communication issue.
As for the cause of the crack - the builder's own engineer said the water from the downspout of the gutter dumping so much water directly on the foundation caused the settling and thus the crack. We don't know exactly how much water was under the house but there was pump running for at least 12 hours with a solid stream of water coming from 1/2" garden hose - I personally monitored the pump from approximately 9 AM until it was completely dark that night and it was still pumping a steady stream of water. Had the builder not been negligent and made sure the elbow was put on the gutter from the beginning and diverted the water away from the foundation, the crack likely would never have happened!
For the builder to say there has been communication not true! There are so many more issues that I've not mentioned it's unbelievable - the cap on the light fixture in the upstairs bedroom closet that I had to mention several times (all before closing) that he only fixed the day he was here about the water under the house several weeks after closing, the screens were never put on the windows, the trash left in the garage for weeks after closing, the busted light bulb in the master bath that was never replaced, the master bathroom mirrors that were still laying on the floor unmounted on the walls when we were trying to move in, and the list could go on...
Bottom line is we bought a new house and paid a new house price - much higher than would have paid for a used house and also what we sold our last 7 year old house for to move into this one - we expect it be in new condition and not new condition only for a couple months. The cracked brick is the same as going to a car dealer buying a new car with a huge scratch down the hood. The last thing we wanted, or even thought about when buying a new home, is having months of dealing with issue after issue. We do not feel like we've been treated fairly, professionally or ethically.
I'm sending this regarding the complaint by Mr. ******. I spoke to *** today, they are showing work as 100% complete. They said the original work order was done a month ago and another 2 weeks later. I am going by in the morning to look myself. She said if for some reason it is not done, she will make sure he next day possible it will be done. As far as sod, when Victor went by quite a while ago, he said he went up to the door, I'm under the impression that didn't happen, he suggested "heavy over seeding" because taking up what was there would cause more harm than good due to Mr. ******'s diligence on lawn care. I will have that done no later than the 24th, hoping for Thursday depends on the weather though.
I believe that wraps up our complaint. This has not been a smooth transaction due to things I should have handled differently. There are numerous times I should have checked to confirm something being done by subs that are normally very good about doing what they say, but that is by job to confirm, ultimately it falls on me.
My reference to communication was before it got to the point of this complaint. Once it got to this point communication has only cone through the BBB.
The pipes were requested per the contract to be routed away with pipes, that couldn't be done until the yard was done because the equipment would crush the pipe if not. Weather leading up to closing was less than helpful. I agree that it would have been better to not have the downspout putting the water there. The mirrors were done in what I thought was a good deed, they were provided by the homeowner and are not the ones we put in. There was one box of trash left in the garage, the cleaning crew thought it was "good" material that was left over, it was not, under some good material was trash and it was taken off.
We did a final walk-through the day of closing and any item that wasn't done, was either over looked or known about at that time. The water and foundation issue both cam to light after closing, the water was dealt with immediately and the crack did take too long between the engineer and the company that actually performs the work.
Obviously I have an unhappy homeowner that at this point I don't know that will ever be happy. I don't completely disagree with the analogy of the new car, all I can say it that the repairs come with a life time warranty. As to the payment issue with ***, I am the one that singed off on the agreement for the work to be performed, that also agrees to payment when the work is done.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The builder is correct in that we are unhappy homeownwers. As I mentioned before, we paid a new house price but did not get a house in new condition. I would expect buying a used home to have to pressure wash, clean, and repair some things myself but not on a new home but that's exactly what I had to with this new home. I hauled off all the dirt on the street, which was actually mud when it rained, a bucket at a time; I pressure washed the sidewalks and swept the inside of the garage; I installed all the screens on the windows; installed the garage door opener; and there's the repaired crack from the ground to the roof which since my last update on this complaint, *** did fill in the cracks with tinted mortar but the difference in the color with the original mortar is noticeable - my hope is that with warmer weather and a few months time, it will fade enough to not be noticeable (as a side note - we do not have anything in writing from *** stating there's a lifetime, transferable warranty); and there several other things too which the builder knows about. And we shouldn't have to deal with these issues for 6+ months.
At this point to be happy, the only solution is to have paid a used house price, which means recuperating the difference in what this house would've sold for used vs. new. Short of a miracle or change of heart, I don't expect a check in the mail. So no, I will never click "yes" to the BBB's question "Do you accept this business' proposed resolution?" because the pop-up says "If I choose YES, the BBB will assume that I am completely satisfied with the way the company handled the complaint...". As such, I expect the BBB will force a close on this complaint and not publish any of my original comments or responses.
It's unfortunate but not unexpected that I see additional complaints have been filed since I opened this one. As a business owner myself, I know that statistics have shown that 1 in 10 customers with issues take the time to file formal complaints - seeing that there's now 4 on the BBB, that would mean a whole lot more have issues with this builder. I would suggest that the builder seriously consider the manner in which he conducts business. Our agent told us when we looked at this house the listing says "must user builder's contract" not the standard, generic contracts that all Realtors use. When we read this contract together with our agent, she said she had never seen one written like this - it was totally one-sided in the builder's favor essentially stating he could get out of the contract for any reason. This should've been a red flag but I think the builder knows that when buyers are in our situation with our old house sold and nowhere to live, we have little choice.