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JRN Design Associates, LLC

Phone: (231) 275-8012

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Customer Complaints Summary

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 0 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Problems with Product / Service1
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints1

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (1)
02/26/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Owner **** **** was contracted to consult, produce designs, bid construction, and make site visits for a whole home renovation.
SUMMARY:
This complaint is regarding the failure of **** **** to properly complete promised work including consultation, design, gathering construction bids, and production of final construction prints for my residential home. **** started with an initial site meeting, where he suggested that I work the entire plan without a permit. For an experienced designer, this was a very poor suggestion, which also carries fines. He then claimed that he had several contractors that he would send to bid the job - none of which ever showed up. He produced designs that were not in-line with my communications and charged me for prints that were unusable. **** ****, Owner of J.R.N. Design, simply refused to listen to what I desired in a home.

TIMELINE:
**** **** was hired on November 19th with a $500 retainer to complete the following:
Development of "As Built drawings":
Foundation plan (To be reviewed and verified by General contractor)
Floor plans and required
Elevations
Preliminary design development/price acquisition:
Site visit to discuss project goals and requirements.
Design development of floor plans (Standard 2x6 construction)
Design development of elevations. (Standard 2x6 construction)
Several meetings to discuss the floor plans and the development of the elevations and floor plans.
(E-mails and phone meetings are also effective).
*Review preliminary construction estimate from general contractors recommended at early stages.
*Review alternative plan directions and options per preliminary estimates.

**** suggested an hourly contract which he would complete the above list at a rate of $50 an hour. **** made an initial site visit on Nov 19th, and produced a group of preliminary plans that did not at all match the parameters we discussed during our initial meeting.

I addressed my concerns with **** numerous times to correct the problem and begin a design that would work with my desired path. On November 22nd, I asked that he join a WebEx online meeting so that we could go over the print online together. **** did not respond. I reached out to **** again on December 5th asking to do a computer screen share or set up a meeting to go over my ideas.

Throughout this process, **** continually wasted my time and my money crafting enormous emails with large BOLD PRINT sentences, almost like he was yelling at me. Each time I made suggestions, he ran wild with his own ideas - none of which I liked. **** insisted on building a bonus room, yet never added a staircase to the lower level plan for access to the room. **** also sent me cross section designs of an entirely new engineered trussing system, after I explicitly told him that was far too expensive.

When I finally was able to get **** back out to the house, he was unable to enter, as he claimed his allergies would not allow him. He took no new measurements, and again did not listed to my design ideas.

I told him that I was unhappy with the outcome, and he continued not to listen, producing designs as he wished on my dime. He ran up a $1,000 tab and I ended up without workable house plans.

****'s poor work that did not reflect my communicated designs, ran up an hourly bill and lead me down the wrong path.

Desired Settlement
Full Refund

Business Response
Hi Amy,

I am looking at the summary from **** M.
I will address each line of this frivolous and completely baseless, malicious complaint and provide you with any e-mail information you think you need.

The items below somewhat flow with the list he has provided in his alleged complaint.

**** makes it sound and look like he is helplessly stuck in an hourly agreement at $50.00 per hour for which he could have stopped at anytime, but for some reason he chose to continue. Very strange! How can someone have so many complaints with an hourly agreement? Not possible. He states I ran up a bill, but what about ****? How can someone run up a bill beyond what they want to spend?

**** states JRN "failed to complete promised work". First, this was an hourly project billed at $50.00 per hour...to say "promised work" is false because **** could stop at any time, but chose not to for some reason, accruing 38 e-mails and attachments and a site visit while continuing to seek design concepts and services, sending me on apparent purposeful misdirection. See e-mail illustrating confusion. **** states that JRN was to provide final working drawings, but that is not true, only "As built" drawings and preliminary design drawings for early pricing were listed. The working drawings were clearly an extra cost....perhaps you should ask to see ****'s actual list of services in place of his clearly false interpretation. See attached for what was offered to ****.

**** states JRN told him to proceed without permits but, this is clearly proof for his purposeful maliciousness and deceit as I will show!

JRN never provided working drawings nor were they included in the cost for services that were accrued at an hourly rate. The only thing JRN was under contract for was "As-Built Drawings" and "preliminary designs and preliminary pricing" so **** could learn which way was best to proceed and only 1/2 of this service was provided since it was based on an hourly rate up to $2,000.00. How can one proceed to build, which **** has done on his own, with concept drawings intended only for pricing, that he later claimed he did not want?

Also, JRN did not provide a design direction that would allow for **** to proceed without pulling a building permit as my strong suggestion to him was to remove the problem (the old roof) in place of his desire to keep it and put a band-aid on it selling it to someone in the future with a larger front porch and big deck....and this was the point of our contention! See e-mail.

Although he was interested in receiving the drawings to allow him to understand cost and for general pricing which he received, he denied ever wanting it which is absolutely not the case.

JRN only provided on site measurements and later "As built" plans and multiple bathroom layouts as well as a concept elevation and a section of a bonus truss drawing and upper level plan for general pricing along with numerous e-mails and phone consultations that he denies were ever provided.

**** states "JRN told him not pull a permit", but JRN strongly suggested removing the entire roof adding a new roof, but **** did not want to do this although he did request to see the bonus truss drawings to seek his own pricing. It would not be possible to tear a roof completely off in the middle of ************* without a building permit and further proof for his maliciousness! See e-mail illustrating how JRN disagreed with keeping the old roof, but **** chose to keep the old roof, operating internally and keeping the old roof covering up problems in place of removing them.

**** hired JRN Design for consultation and insists I did not provide this, but just because **** did not like the ethical building solution JRN provided is not worthy of a complaint! After all, he did likely use the drawings for general pricing. See e-mail.
JRN provided a bonus truss solution to allow him to determine pricing in order to figure out which way to proceed, but **** now states he did not want it although he accepted it at our meeting and asked to see it prior in an e-mail.
JRN strongly suggested removing the roof completely in place of putting a "band-aid on the old roof" See e-mail.
JRN provided a cross section and elevation of the bonus room truss for further analysis and pricing.
JRN clearly indicated that the direction **** wanted to proceed with was a problem. See below for why.
JRN clearly has not provided **** with any drawings that illustrate the method of construction that **** has proceeded with.
(Placing a band-aid on the old roof) and furthermore JRN disagreed with it because it did not appear to fit current code requirements at many levels.

After our last meeting on his site we were supposed to go to Big Boy to discuss the project, but **** stated he did not have any time to do so. I handed him another invoice for $500.00 for work to date and drawings that he had asked from me via e-mail, prior to our meeting.

After New Years I received a check for the $500.00 with the words "under protest" on it. I contacted **** via e-mail and gave him a chance to explain, before I cashed the check. I wanted to know what he was protesting regarding all of my e-mails and work provided, including the measuring of the home and the "As- built" drawings.

His explanation rambled on saying I did not do as he had asked, but that was merely related to what I felt was an "ethical design solution" given his existing conditions and what I believed was an appropriate solution...His final comment related to one of his last e-mails was, HE paid me because he was a "Man of his word!"

I sent him an e-mail back asking if he was protesting his own word! **** chose to insult me based on a grammar mistake in place of explaining further how he could protest his own word, and that was our last communication.

If **** paid because he was a "Man of His word" then what was the word that compelled him to pay?

It is clear that **** is under protest, but with himself!

He knows he should do the right thing, but is unable to do so completely without an internal conflict. I believe **** is in conflict with his own word and what is right and that he is frustrated with me for it, but I could not proceed with detailing the improper direction that he wanted!

**** stated he did not use any ideas e-mailed to him during our productive hours and 30 or so e-mails. Therefore, I called the code office and spoke with two different people to see if the plans were generated by another party, and if so, I could see if **** used ideas from JRN Design, but it was discovered that NO BUILDING PERMITS were actually pulled on his address of ******************...However, the second site meeting clearly illustrated that he was under construction, but without plans from me!

JRN offered to provide builders to look at the project, but **** had his own resources and price information of which I had no contact with as stated in one of my e-mails to him.

**** states he is clearly aware e-mails serve as time for meetings in the list of services and his complaint...and JRN has sent numerous e-mails to **** since the initial meeting with productive conversations, but **** later states that JRN did not provide drawings that matched the initial visit. How is this possible to have an initial meeting and a productive e-mail log without a match? The e-mails contradict ****s word.

**** states he addressed his concerns with JRN numerous times...
1)...But JRN was only working at an hourly rate and **** could stop at anytime!
2) ****'s "direction" was causing problems using old 2x rafters in a capacity that would not work for safe structure and required insulation.
To do what **** asked, required an Engineer and JRN did not offer engineering services to ****...so who helped ****?
**** states he wanted me to correct the problems of communication, but the e-mail log only illustrates a difference of approach related to covering up problems or ****'s improper direction or offering solutions to fix the problems removing the roof and reducing the porch deck area. See e-mail.

**** states I wasted his time that consisted of 38 e-mails, "As-built" drawings, numerous bathroom redesigns per his request, a front elevation and cross section to understand pricing and a proposed upper level storage area. It is not possible that his time was wasted, but mine clearly was!
**** states there was never a stairway added to access the upper level, but the idea was to discover pricing and to perhaps have a pull down stair for storage only. If **** did not want to tear the roof off and add the bonus room, why would he ask for a stairway too? **** is in conflict with his word again.

**** states when I came to the home that I was unable to enter, but I could see his place was under construction and no visible permit was pulled on his home. **** requested the drawings that I had in my hand and the invoice as well, but it was clear that **** was sending JRN in directions that:
1) He knew he was not going to proceed with and
2) Directions that went against what I thought was right.
3) Directions that pushed the limits of old lumber.
4) Created problems with insulation...although sometimes the building department will work with existing conditions the required specifications are for 12" of insulation and the old roof **** insisted on keeping only offered 3" at the bearing which would not accomplish the required R-50 needed. I could not proceed with improper construction details.

**** states he was unhappy and that I continued to not listen running up a tab for $1,000.00, but the tab was given in slow non-demanding increments and **** could stop at anytime, but he did not stop and instead continued to collect information from JRN Design asking for directions, but headed the other way.

I even commented in an e-mail that I was perplexed and confused about why he proceeded with asking for flipping the stairway and other directions even though it was clear that he did not want it. Needless to say, I became very suspicious of **** and his true intentions.

**** states he never received workable house plans, but that was not what I was hired to do. Rather my services were for "preliminary plans" and for general price understanding for which **** accomplished with his own resources as indicated in one of the e-mails.

I am going to stop for now and I look forward to talking with you to provide any supporting e-mails to this letter.

Thank you Amy,
************
JRN Design
************

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
As you can see by the manner that **** **** chose to respond to my complaint, his demeanor is combative, and riddled with inconsistencies. As he has demonstrated, **** **** is good at spending hours typing emails, but not accomplishing any work. Let's take a look at our written, contractual agreement. This document was attached by **** in his response, and clearly outlines the facts. Below you will find a list of items that **** claimed he would do, and did not:

Foundation plan (To be reviewed and verified by General contractor)

-When was this done? Please show written proof that you have a licensed General Contractor that has reviewed your foundation plan of this home. This was the FIRST item on your list.

Preliminary design development/price acquisition:
Design development of floor plans (Standard 2x6 construction)
Design development of elevations. (Standard 2x6 construction)

-This house does not have ANY 2x6 construction. Shouldn't a designer know this? Is **** suggesting that I demolish the entire home and reconstruct using 2x6 walls? Please show proof of all price acquisition from licensed contractors that you procured.


Several meetings to discuss the floor plans and the development of the elevations and floor plans.

-You offered 1 meeting and produced designs that did not at all match my requirements.

Review preliminary construction estimate from general contractors recommended at early stages.

-Where are these estimates? You recommended this be done at early stages?


I look forward to reviewing your information.

****


Final Business Response
Hi Terry,

Again, this client unknown to JRN Design Associates llc proceeded with construction without a building permit using his own contractor resources unknown to JRN and in an illegal fashion breaching all the conditions and terms of our agreement for: "As-Built" drawings, preliminary design development and preliminary pricing at an hourly rate.

Item #1: "As-Built" Foundation plan (To be reviewed and verified by General contractor) -When was this done? Please show written proof that you have a licensed General Contractor that has reviewed your foundation plan of this home. This was the FIRST item on your list.

The note for the "As-Built" drawing foundation plan to be reviewed by a general contractor was
the responsibility of the chosen builder by the owner to verify dimensional characteristics after removing any and all partition walls or obstacles to the actual dimensional conditions.

This client elected to proceed with construction, unknown to me and in a illegal manner with unknown sources. The verification of the dimensional aspects for the "As built" drawings falls upon the clients chosen builder after demolition starts.

Furthermore, the agreement for services listed was based on an hourly rate that was not paid in full thus all drawings and services listed were not all provided, since the client terminated the agreement based on:
1) Proceeding with construction illegally without a building permit, without a final design direction and with his contractor of choice not made known since he operated illegally.
2) Proceeding without communicating proper engineering to support his chosen direction.
3) Proceeding with final construction in a direction JRN did not agree with and without final working drawings.

Item #2:Preliminary design development/price acquisition:

This service was unable to be provided fully since this client proceeded with final construction without a final direction from J.R.N., without a building permit, and with contractors that operated illegally. This terminated our agreement, since the client proceeded with his own direction and builder resources declined any further contractor pricing based on the preliminary drawings provided. All competitive pricing acquisition was rejected by this client since he had chose to proceed with his own contractors and obviously pricing with his own method for construction illegally.

Item #3:-This house does not have ANY 2x6 construction. Shouldn't a designer know this? Is **** suggesting that I demolish the entire home and reconstruct using 2x6 walls?

The note, calling for "2x6 construction" is a note indicating that any new wall construction for exterior walls shall use 2x6 construction for proper insulation values as we discussed. Also, it is not suggesting to necessary remove all the existing walls, but to perhaps pad them out to accomplish the necessary depth for the required R-values and the preferred insulation method.
Moreover, if the proposed solution for the second level bonus room (that was requested for a comparative direction) was to be used to accomplish more space then this note for 2x6 construction was indicating what the depth of the walls at the gable ends would have been.

Item #4: Several meetings to discuss the floor plans and the development of the elevations and floor plans. -You offered 1 meeting and produced designs that did not at all match my requirements.

Clearly we took the time for the initial meeting, however the hourly agreement states that: (E-mails and phone meetings are also effective). There were over 30 e-mails, many with attachments and phone calls that clearly showed productive dialogue and progress was taking place over the 30 days or so and that the e-mails and phone calls were serving as "meetings" for the sake of cooperative plan advancement.

I did make an effort for the second meeting at his home to review all the drawings and time provided for the $1,000.00 dollars this client paid which included:

Measuring his home, generating the "As-built" floor plans, generating 5 different floor plan options, two cross sections to help this client see moving the stairway direction was not practical (which he finally accepted), a proposed ranch style front elevation with decorative columns and a covered porch along with a preliminary cross section for it, a cross section for the bonus truss option for comparative analysis to the covered porch direction and a quick floor plan illustrating the number of trusses for estimating purposes...along with other miscellaneous drawings developed, but not sent.

Upon our second meeting to review these preliminary design drawings and options at his home it was evident this client chose to proceed with construction, unknown to me in a direction I did not agree with and without final working drawings or proper engineering. The agreement was terminated.

Thank you,
Sincerely,
*******
J.R.N. Design Associates llc (Member)
"Building on Budget by Design"

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