Advice on how to dispense anger from getting screwed over (LONG post!)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MarkHastings, May 31, 2005.

  1. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Before I ask my question, here's the LONG back story:

    About 2 months ago, I put a bid on a brand new condo. When I put in the bid, my unit was still being built (it only had the drywall up). The condo came with a few appliances as well as carpeting and vinyl flooring for the kitchen and bathroom.

    I had asked the agent if I could 'customize' anything. I really wanted tile in the kitchen and wondered if I could 'upgrade' from the vinyl. The agent said there were no upgrades, but if I wanted to do tile, I had to take it up with the builder.

    I called the builder and he wanted nothing to do with it. He did give me the name of the 'partner' tile company of the vinyl company (that he uses for the condos). He said he'd give me a good price.

    So I contacted the tile place. I decided on what I wanted and everything seemed to be going on track.

    When the tile guy made up the P.O., I asked if I could get a discount since I wasn't having the vinyl installed. The tile guy said "but the vinyl was already ordered. Who's gonna pay for that?" - since this was news to me, I wasn't sure what to say. The tile guy said that the vinyl was ordered and that someone had to pay for it.

    I said "Didn't I pay for it? Since it DID come with the price of the condo!" - The tile guy looked confused and still kept asking me who was going to pay for it.

    I said "Well, since I technically paid for it...INSTALL it!" - I mean, it was included in the price of the condo...

    So the tile guy kind of agreed to it verbally.

    When I went back to sign the contract, I spoke with a woman. I made sure she knew that I wanted the tile installed in the basement (instead of the kitchen). I also made sure that they weren't giving me a discount on the tile. She said that there were no discounts and agreed that I was entitled to have the vinyl installed.

    The tile was installed and the vinyl was installed in both bathrooms, but the "kitchen" vinyl was never installed in the basement. After contacting the tile guy, he said that I wasn't entitled to it since I went with the tile. I explained the situation and he kind of agreed, but said I needed to talk to the builder.

    So I called the builder and he was also saying I wasn't entitled to it since I got a "deal" from the tile guy. I explained that the tile guy never gave me a "deal" and that I paid full price. The builder told me he would look into it and call me back.

    He never calls back, and when I call him back (the next day), he is off on vacation and I have to deal with his brother who is of no help all week.

    So now it comes to today and still no word. I leave a message with the builder to call and he never calls. I talked to my lawyer and he said that the builders lawyer told him that the tile place gave me a "good deal" and that he (the builder) is not installing the vinyl or giving me any credit back. The lawyer said he really couldn't do any more and that I had to work up a deal with the builder on my own.

    I then try to call the builder again to explain and he basically hangs up on me (he puts me on hold and the phone mysteriously gets disconnected). I leave him messages but he doesn't call. It's now obvious that this guy is a prick and doesn't want to deal with me.

    I finally call the tile guy and speak to the woman who is very nice. She is agreeing with me and asks (while I'm on the phone) the owner about it. He is in the background SWEARING his head off. "Why the F*** is he calling us? We gave him a F***in deal!" , etc. - I ask the woman (again) "Did I get a deal?" - She says No and tells this to the owner. He yells "Well then maybe I should have F***in charged him more!" [​IMG]

    So now I'm FUMING MAD!

    The thing that now sucks is, my closing is Thurs. - Since I locked in my rate over 2 months ago, if I let the closing go any further, I will have to pay a penalty. Also, there is nothing the lawyer can do unless I want to pursue a "Breach of contract" (Obviously he doesn't want to do anything for free). The thing is, between the additional lawyers fees and the closing late fees, I'll have to shell out WELL over the amount of what the vinyl's worth, so it's really not worth it to me to pursue any legal actions.

    Whew! That was a mouthful

    Now here's my question: Is there anything (for free) that I can do to get back at these guys? The builder is the lowest form of life since he isn't MAN enough to call me back. His chicken-shit attitude is not even worth dealing with on a human level. The TILE GUY is the biggest A-Hole I've ever dealt with. He was SO unprofessional to start swearing at a recent customer like that, but I guess that's typical of a low-life such as this a-hole.

    So what can I do? I have already gotten numbers from the Better Business Bureau and I will be logging formal complaints with the "Remodeling Contractors Assoc." and the "State of CT dept. of Consumer Protection", but does that really do anything to these guys? I'm sure most builders get these complaints all the time and this won't even phase him.

    I also talked to another Real Estate agent and she said the guys at her office had nothing but bad things to say about this builder. I told her to spread the word for me that this guy is SCUM!

    I was also thinking of posting a web page (if not for my own satisfaction), citing my ordeal and letting the viewer decide on what a bunch of creeps these guys are, but at what point does it become "slander".

    Again, I have exhausted any sort of means of getting the vinyl installed or any credit back, so I've given up there. Any contact with these guys would probably end up in me swearing back or me going ape-sh*t on them and I don't want to end up in jail. [​IMG]

    What I DO want to do is make sure these guys know that I am pissed and will do whatever it takes (legally) to make sure the whole town knows about their unprofessionalism.

    Ideas?

    p.s. Thanks for reading (if you got through all of the above)
     
  2. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Mark, I've had good results dealing with Consumer Affairs, but they work with the merchant/complaintant to seek a resolution...And short of that, the worst that may happen is the builder will have an unresolved complaint in the CA or BBB registry. This doesn't do much, because not a lot of people research Consumer Affairs and BBB data prior to purchasing or contracting or whatever.

    My brother had it out with Volvo and built a web site telling his story. He received a cease and desist letter from an attorney representing Volvo. My brothers lawyer summed up the libel/slander situation pretty simply: If what you're saying is the truth, and you can back it up with documentation, you have nothing to worry about...other than the expense of possibly retaining a lawyer to defend against slander accusations.

    Few companies would seriously pursue a slander suit with the intent to win the suit itself, but some might pursue it simply to cost you money. Volvo was one of those companies as they obviously have a legal department already paid at their disposal, so there's no cost to them for shooting off a cease and desist letter or pursuing it further just to be spiteful. My brother ignored them for whatever that's worth after consulting with an attorney, and Volvo simply went away and dropped the matter.

    If it were me, other than what you've done already, I'd probably shoot off a letter to your States Attorney General's office to complain. Beyond that, there isn't much else you can do.

    If consumer affairs or the BBB can help, great...If not, it might just be less aggravation long term to just move on and enjoy your new place.
     
  3. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    How about some bad publicity? Does your local TV station have one of those 'Works For You' consumer affairs programs? If so, call them up and tell them the story. They might investigate the matter and shame the builder/tile guy into fixing the problem. Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  4. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    A letter to the State Attorney General's office is very good, and so would filing complaints with [if such things exist] builder's and supplier's networks.

    The condominium board of your complex should be alerted to the builder's and the supplier's actions. Who knows? If their work is as shoddy as their ethics, there might be a class action lawsuit against them.

    You might also want to check with your town/city's mayor's office that could handle your complaint, and help you pursue satisfaction.

    Also, if your [local or major] newspaper has one, call up and ask to speak with an ombudsman/advocate.

    Keep us posted, Mark. I, for one, love reading about ethics-free types getting their comeuppance. Give 'em hell!
     
  5. Jeff Peake

    Jeff Peake Supporting Actor

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    I say you move in to your new place, enjoy it and forget about the roll of vinyl you are out of. Of all the crap that can go wrong with new construction, I think you came away pretty lucky.

    Vinyl in the basement is pretty tacky anyway IMO!



    JP
     
  6. Jason Kirkpatri

    Jason Kirkpatri Second Unit

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    Ditto on the local news. Our local stations have "troubleshooters" and the bad publicity would be a form of satisfaction, it nothing else.

    And it's free.
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I really am going to just suck it up and forget about it. The vinyl was probably only worth $300 (installed), so I'm not going to spend a ton of time fighting them, but I do want to do something in the form of a complaint.

    Hopefully the BBB will at least appease me and give me some satisfaction, even if it does nothing at all. I know I'll definitely remember this and make sure I tell everyone about it and warn future customers (of these boobs).Well, it was actually a "utility" room where the washer/dryer and central air was. It's really no big deal, so that's why I'm not too upset that it's not being installed, but it's more of the point that they didn't deliver what I technically paid for.

    The funny thing is, if it weren't for the tile guy giving me crap about the cost of the vinyl in the first place, I never would have thought anything of it. It's HIS doings that caused me to want it installed. He painted himself into a corner and now that he realizes that he got caught, he's weaseling his way out. Combine this with the builders actions and it's this 'unprofessionalism' that ticks me off and I want to make sure that they don't screw anyone else in the future.
     
  8. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    Install it yourself. It's one afternoon of work.

    Don't sweat the small stuff in life. You will live longer.
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    But he wouldn't even give the vinyl. I'm not getting it installed, I'm not getting a credit, and I'm not even getting the roll of vinyl.

    I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but I also don't want them to get away with this in the future with others. If I can do something to put out a warning to future clients, I'll do it.
     
  10. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    That roll of vinyl isn't worth the effort. What, it's about $100 tops?
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    yo bud! just some random thoughts to follow so ignore the rambling.

    1. most importantly, don't sweat this. you have brand new digs ... so kick back and enjoy it.

    2. be prepared for some possible follow-up with these folks. i'm assuming you have a walk-through inspection? what happens if the tile isn't done properly ... you will (i assume) have to go back to these guys.

    3. it's weird they didn't credit you the vinyl. when i bought my house, for the upgrades we did we were credited a certain amount. iirc, it wasn't much but at least we were credited

    4. ditto the "news on your side" kind of shows. definitely see what the scoop is there.

    5. i think the mistake was going verbal...you had no written contract correct? something to keep in your head for next time. [​IMG]

    in a month, you're gonna laugh about this whole thing. i already know you have a level head (most of the time). [​IMG]

    ----

    oh yeah, if you're really bored i guess you could do a picket-sign thing in front of their office....
     
  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - I'm EXTREMELY level headed until you piss me off or get in my way. [​IMG] I try to live by the "I don't get mad...I get even" philosophy.
     
  13. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    As well as your state consumer affairs department, there probably is also a state contractors license board. You pay for these people so why not utilize their services? I check out any contractors on the state web sites before I use their services and it's worked out well. If nothing else, it'll cause the contractor some aggrivation having to deal with the state [​IMG]

    Mort (who prefers getting even to getting mad)
     
  14. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    So I'm guessing this is the first time you've ever had a place built for you? [​IMG]
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] true that!

    -----

    hey mark, maybe this will make you feel better.

    the very night we moved into our new home, we let the boys take a bath in the jacuzzi tub. after we drained the tub, we noticed water starting to seep up the showers, sinks, and bath stalls.

    to make a long story short, it turns out our MAIN sewer pipe (yes, the one that runs under the newly poured concrete driveway) was crushed 2/3rd of the way. dirt was falling into the pipe from the ground.

    -----

    it turns out that our hvac guys installed the vents incorrectly. even though i have two thermostats (one for each half of the house) --- they wired up the vents so that all the vents (except for one) go to one thermostat -- while the one single vent (that currently sounds like a jet engine) goes to the other thermostat. now they have to come out and redo all my vents in the attic. [​IMG]

    -----

    i will admit the builder did a fantastic follow-up, so i have zero complaints. but, when new stuff gets built, shizzle definitely happens.

    i got some other goodies, but hopefully you get the point. [​IMG]
     
  16. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    damn, that does suck.

    I am actually feeling a lot calmer now. The closing is tomorrow and I just want to put it all behind me and start moving in.
     
  17. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    That sounds like the sound thing to do Mark. Building and buying houses are full of irritating and expensive BS, but don't get too bent out of shape over $300. Some of us are dealing with crap that is a LOT worse than your situation with our own places...
     
  18. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Yeah, consider it water under the bridge and just move in. Then deal with all the 'Ted Lee' problems the first night. There are always a tons of little problems, just do what you can and be sure to always ask them to fix it before you do (it's usually worth it.)

    Best and congrats!

    PS - If it continues to piss you off, keep pursuing it after you move in. It's not like closing is the end all be all of leverage in getting this issue solved.
     
  19. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Well, I let the vinyl go and I closed today. Man! This guy did a PISS poor job! The counter top had 4 big chips in it, the shower stall had a giant chip missing (which they just sanded down), there was a TON of dirt, grime, and large chunks of crap all over the place, they never painted inbetween the stairs, the railings were chipped and scratched, the front door had a big dent in it and they never finished grouting the nail holes in the baseboards. The place was a mess!

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Abby_B

    Abby_B Supporting Actor

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    I hope it at least helped to vent about it here! Sorry that the mess keeps continuing. I hope you can enjoy your place!
     

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