This complaint spans a number of areas, from failing to follow their code of ethics, failing to complete the project on time and smoking in my home.
I signed the contract for a 10'x12' sunroom addition on September 27th 2013. The project was to be completed in 6-8 weeks and we are now about to hit the 6 month mark and the project is not complete. I contacted the owener in reference to completing the work or canceling on March 4th and was guaranteed the project would be finished within the next 7 days. It is now March 19th and the project is not complete. The Merrell Home Improvement Code of Ethics has not been followed at all. It talks about customer satisfaction above all, but I have had to continuously ask for project oversight and ask jsut to get people to show up and work. They claim to clean the job site daily, but I had to have the owner come out at one point to address the amount of garbage on the site which was removed, but there has not been consistent monitoring and there is now more garbage everywhere. We have gone from ****** to ****** and now to ** and I could not speculate as to who our foreman supposedly is. The code talks about yard sign promotions and yet someone just stuck a sign in our yard, assuming we wouldn't mind. I see commercials offering military discounts and HVAC upgrades for additions, yet everyone in that office knows I am in the military and that was never offered. It is also
something that I would never have asked for as it is something that is done more out of courtesy and respect(also in the code of ethics). Our yard is unusable and has been an eyesore since the fence and deck were removed in November. The last straw was coming home to a house that reeked of cigarette smoke and ultimately catching the contractors smoking inside of our new room. Particularly in a home where we are both non-smokers and my wife is pregnant, this is disgusting and unacceptable.
Refund and end the contract and I will find a reliable contractor to finish the job properly.
In regards to the complaints filed by the ****** Family,
We apologize for the time constraints on the homeowners Addition projects. Our team is very disappointed with the homeowners' complaint. The contract was written in expectations of having a 4-8 week period, which is often prolonged in our industry depending on the scope of the project and circumstances outside of our control, however there is no term for completion on the contract Mr. ****** signed. Our contract states additional terms and conditions, which reads "that time is not of the essence in this contract" ,"Acts of God, inability to obtain materials or tools, inclement weather- shall not breach or forfeiture the contract."
When securing the proper permits for the project Merrell Home Improvements was notified that we would not be able to build the addition for the property due to the septic tank placement, our representative then pursued the State's health department for soil samples and amendments- this was a time constraint.
After approving the site, the middle TN area experienced several rain systems, followed by freezing weather. Following are quotes form our labor bills- 1-09-2014: " ice is too thick to bust, sent concrete truck back to plant" " Pumped water from foundation" "Hand scooped water from foundation" No true progress was able to be completed on the project until February when the weather was somewhat cooperative.
We have on file labor bills that show progress on the job weekly/daily. We have been communicating with Mr. ****** through email on the progress of the project for updates and scheduling as he stated he didn't receive many messages left for him on his cell. The Cheatam county inspector only inspects on Tuesday and Thursday, and we had an inspection scheduled, then canceled by the inspector. The ******* were also not available for dates that we had Electricians scheduled and we were not notified until the evening prior at 10 pm.
Our company highly respects our homeowner and his services and commitment to our country, and though we did not offer him a military discount we have provided many upgrades and showed lenience with the homeowner on payment. On 3/5/14 an email was sent to Mr. ****** stating "weather permitting we would complete his project 5-10 business days", "if the ground is dry we would do the dirt work", and also offered a" free no cost 10x12 deck" for the delay of completion on his project whereas he would have only received steps from the room. The ****** family was also upgraded from standard electrical covers, and switches, that was their choice, and we found that was agreeable for again the timeliness of the project. Our agreement for payment has not been followed by the ******* which as the contract was agreed to states: 1/3 payment on contract signing, 1/3 payment at project "dry in", and final 1/3 payment on completion. We have not received our second payment on the project and have not pursued payment again due to time constraints. When Mr. ****** was given a time period for a 5-10 business day completion, he selected special order flooring and agreed to waiting period of 10 days for arrival. We also special ordered the siding to match the home which was also a time constraint.
Our company was deeply disappointed in the misconduct of the sub contractor who was found smoking in the home, we immediately took disciplinary action on the employee, as well as repainted the homeowners addition.
In closing I would like to apologize for the time constraint on the homeowners' project, we have provided many courtesies and upgrades for the length of time it has taken to complete the project, and we will pursue payment in full when the project is complete. However, we hope the homeowners are truly happy with end result of their project, we will still honor all warranties and our overall goal is a quality product.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I am actually quite surprised and could not be more disappointed with the response from Merrell Home Improvement. After a number or e-mails(which I have records of), phone and personal conversations where they expressed their apologies and assurance that our experience was not normal, their first point is to try and marginalize the situation and state that what happened is typical. If this was a typical experience, the organization would be out of business. The time to complete the project is embarrassing, but that is just a part of the problem. Since there was an emphasis on this I will start with the fact that in the response they agreed that there was a 4-8 week period to start the project that was not followed. Not having much experience with construction contracts I can admit that it was a mistake on our end to sign a contract without a completion date on it and a statement that says, "Time is not of the essence." Unfortunately Merrell Home improvement truly takes that to heart and took 6 months to build a sunroom to the point of being somewhat usable. The 4-8 week period was more than acceptable and would have put us into November with a completion date in December, possibly January at the latest. Using the weather and everything else as an excuse is ridiculous as I have friends in Clarksville that have had entire homes built in the time it has taken to work on this sunroom. I can trace communication problems with Merrell back to e-mails in October when I was asking why I had not been getting any updates. We finally got the deck and fence removed in November, but then no work was started until January, making our yard unusable for months. We were told that the issue involved the sales representative not passing along the proper information to the scheduling representative and nothing was started until I personally walked into the office to express my disgust. Ironically, the office assistant stated that she had assumed the project was almost complete at that point and did not realize it had not been started. How does that happen? I can agree that there were some weather setbacks and the septic concern that limited the project completion by a few days, not months. Also, some of these are self inflicted, as the weather was great when the project was supposed to be completed and oddly enough, it gets cold it January and February. So, I can certainly understand a few days due to weather, but when no one is working for a week or more at a time and there is no communication as to why, then there is a problem. None of the issues identified in Merrell's response delayed the project for more than a few days and I am sure the labor bills and gaps within those labor bills will accurately reflect that. I also have all e-mail traffic which reflects our begging for information and complaints about lack of communication. I was even promised, "I will contact you every morning with the schedule and let you, or your wife know what time we will be there, or if we will not be there." That did not happen. Their next point is that the Cheatham County inspector delayed them, which is true that the inspection was delayed, but that was one aspect of a complex project. Instead of working on the deck, the fence, the siding, the dirt work, etc... they just didn't show up for 10 days while waiting on this inspection. The next point they claim is that we were not available for the electrician, when we told them the night prior not to send the electrician as we were fed up with this contract and that I was filing the original complaint. They sent the electrician anyway. Then they agree that we were told on March 5th that the project would be complete in 5-10 days, "weather permitting," by email and over the phone, ****** ******* guaranteed it in 7. So, they are agreeing that they did not keep that promise and there was no delay due to weather during that time. The next statement involves the ground being dry for the dirt work, which is pretty irrelevant and should have been done well before then anyway. Then they try to make it seem like they did a huge favor with the deck. I can go back to e-mails in October when I was begging to get someone out to discuss the deck and I was ignored. The contract also states we would have had a 4'x3' landing with stairs and they basically upgraded that to 10'x12'. Their response is inaccurate saying we would have only had steps, and obviously they knew there were a number of mistakes on their end or this would not have been done. We were not upgraded the electrical covers and outlets, as I simply asked for the outlets that matched the rest of the house and would have done them myself if I needed to. Additionally, we were significantly under the allotted costs for the lighting and flooring, which more than covers the cost of the covers and outlets and make that argument insignificant. The flooring and siding are terrible excuses to try and justify their delay. Yes the siding was ordered, but they knew about the siding when the contract was signed. It is in the contract to match the siding and it didn't change between when we signed the contract and when they finally decided to order it. The flooring was also ordered. It came in within 3 days and sat in the room for a week before they began installation. They stated the room was going to be completed in 5-10 days and it was not, regardless of the number of excuses. Part of that timeline failure was that there was 1 person working by himself for a majority of those 10 days. I can appreciate the disciplinary action for the employee smoking in our home, but that doesn't make it any better. I also don't think he was the one doing most of the smoking in there, he just happened to be who got caught. We also asked ** about the repainting and were told it was painted again because he saw streaks, not because of the smoking complaint. Needless to say, I can't stand being lied to. The last issue they address is the 1/3 payment timeline. I know of no one that would pay this company another dime at the rate and manner they do business. How would I even know when they are at "dry-in" when there is no foreman overseeing the project and no one keeping us informed? I also would never know when they are truly complete as they consistently go days and weeks with no communication or work being performed. We have gone from ****** to ******, back to ******, then to ****** saying he was overseeing everything, then to ** overseeing the project, but no true foreman or communication. This violates the Merrell Home Improvement Code of Ethics, which clearly isn't worth more than the paper it is printed on. I have pictures and e-mails supporting that they have failed to follow any tenet of their Code of Ethics (outside of the warranty), which essentially makes them an unethical business. You can walk through the backyard and still come across the garbage that they left everywhere, which is another tenet in their code of ethics and has been addressed numerous times. I don't need to go in depth on the Military discount and yard sign promotions that they tried to take advantage of, which are a part of their code. It has been disgusting to work with a company that talks about customer service above all, but yet has none. They have not followed through on any of their timeline or communication promises. They have smoked in a home where a homeowner is pregnant, which is a serious health concern. They are unethical in following their own Code of Ethics, which will require legal interpretation as to whether or not their code is binding. There have been zero courtesies and 1 upgrade, which are not worth what we dealt with. And saying, "We hope the homeowners are truly happy with end result of their project, we will still honor all warranties and our overall goal is a quality product." is embarrassing. As a consumer, I would not wish this experience on anyone and would never recommend this company to anyone.
Final Business Response
As of 4/8/2014 the ******'s room addition has been completed. The final inspections for electrical and framing have been completed and approved, as well as the final inspection.
We understand the ******'s frustration. This project was not completed in the expected time frame and there were several unfortunate incidents that occurred that we are truly sorry for. The family now has a fully useable, beautiful addition to their home that they will enjoy for many years to come. The balance due on the addition is $14,000.00