Customers Of Home Improvement Select Tell BBB Firm Vanished After Taking Thousands For Jobs

  
     
February 06, 2017
Home Improvement Select website
 Home Improvement Select website

St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 9, 2017Home Improvement Select, a Maryland Heights remodeling company, appears to have shut down after taking tens of thousands of dollars in deposits from St. Louis area homeowners and then failing to start or complete the work.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to exercise extreme caution when dealing with Home Improvement Select or owner Shane Slaven. Slaven’s full name is Howard Shane Slaven.

“Nobody can tell me anything,” said a frustrated homeowner from west St. Louis County who did not receive any work after paying Home Improvement Select a $12,000 deposit last spring to renovate two bathrooms in his home.

Home Improvement Select dissatisfied customer
Ballwin homeowner who said he lost $10,000 to the company

“I really don’t trust anybody any more,” said a Home Improvement Select customer from O’Fallon, Ill. That customer said he paid the company $10,000 in May as partial payment to remodel his basement, but no work was done.

Both men requested refunds but received nothing. They were unable to contact anyone with the company during the past month.

More than a dozen consumers from Missouri and Illinois said they paid between several hundred dollars and several thousand dollars each for contracting projects that were never completed. In several other cases, consumers described the company’s work as substandard.

Home Improvement Select has an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible, as a result of more than 40 customer complaints, 17 of which were unanswered. Almost all BBB complaints were filed in the past five months. Several complaints also have been filed with the Missouri attorney general’s office.

BBB made numerous attempts to contact Slaven by mail, email and phone, without success. Several former employees said it appears the two-year-old company simply could not keep up with its orders.

“We had great salesmen and a great product, but the business grew too rapidly,” said the company’s former marketing manager. “He (Slaven) didn’t stay on top of anything.”

A former sales manager who claims he is owed $11,000 in wages and commissions from the company, remembers asking Slaven at one point when his salespeople would be paid. “He looked up at me and said, ‘With what money? There’s no money.”

Another employee said of Slaven: “He owed a bunch of people money.”

Home Improvement Select Shane Slaven
Shane Slaven

Registration documents for Home Improvement Select were filed with the Missouri secretary of state in October 2014. The business was owned by HSS Investments LLC, which listed its address as Slaven’s home in the 2600 block of Bryant Avenue in Overland. Slaven is listed as the only partner and organizer of HSS Investments.

Most consumers said they either were solicited by door-to-door salespeople for the company or met representatives of the firm at area home shows.

Several of the complaints were registered by senior citizens or their families.

In one case, the son of a 93-year-old St. Louis man told BBB he gave the company an $800 down payment to remodel his father’s bath tub, which had become a safety hazard. More than four months later, no work had been started.

In another case, a 77-year-old retired schoolteacher from Ballwin said he gave the company a $10,000 deposit last June to install a bathroom in the basement of his home. He said he took a call from a company representative in November, asking him if he was ready for work to begin. “That was the last thing I heard from them.” He has been unable to get a refund.

“I am trying to be a Christian, but I’m angry,” he said.

A Lutheran minister and his wife from House Springs said they paid the company a $2,000 down payment toward a $6,500 deck project on Sept. 8, but no work was ever done.

“That is a very large amount of money for us,” the wife said.

BBB offers the following tips to consumers looking to hire a reputable contractor:

  • Research the business and owners carefully before signing a contract, providing any sensitive personal information or paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
  • Ask for references and contact them.
  • Before paying, make sure you have a signed contract outlining what work is to be done, a timetable for completion and an explanation of what happens if the business or consumer reneges on the agreement.
  • Ask the contractor for proof that he or she is bonded and insured.
  • Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the payment.
  • Do not pay everything in advance. It is a good rule to pay a portion when you sign the contract and the final payment only after you are satisfied with the completed work.
  • When work is completed and the contractor has been paid, make sure you have received lien waivers showing subcontractors and material suppliers have been paid for the job.

St. Louis Area Media Contacts: Chris Thetford, BBB St. Louis Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.org

Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.org

Bill Smith, Investigator, (314) 584-6727, bsmith@stlouisbbb.org

Columbia media contact: Sean Spence, Columbia Regional Director, (573) 886-8965, sspence@midmobbb.org

Cape Girardeau media contact: Joey Keys, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 803-3191, jkeys@capegirardeaubbb.org

Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, BBB Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), mclingingsmith@quincybbb.org

About BBB

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