Bad Contractor

November 11, 2002

My wife and I are nearing the end of a bad experience adding onto and remodeling our kitchen. The contractor we hired is now over a month late finishing the job, has done generally poor quality work, rarely supervises his own crew or subcontractors, and has just generally made this an experience we would never want to repeat. We have had additions and remodeling done before, one even more extensive than this one, so we know that we are not just overreacting to a normal situation.

Since they will have completed the work, I suppose that we will have to pay them the contract amount (we did not put in late payment penalties). But we would like to report this outfit to someone to make it a matter of record -- it does not seem like they should be able to get away with this. Most organizations, like the Better Business Bureau or our local (Fairfax County, Virginia) Office of Consumer Protection, will take a complaint about getting something specific done -- such as redoing a floor or finishing something that was not completed. But who can I go to just to register our complaints about what happened? Are there agencies that do this? Web sites?

Comments (57)

  • davenado

    I will never... EVER again hire a general contractor for home remodeling/repair. We hired OSSO Construction here in Coronado CA and had the absolute worst experiance you can immagine.... Gates installed with 3 inch screws sticking out of 2" lumber... Fascia board that look like a drunken sailor installed it... New entrance to garage installed, with no sealing arond base, you can see light along the wall they destroyed... Plywood benches build with the wrong side of plywood up... D grade instead of B... Gates hung where the latches don't work... no cut in to the frame to allow locking...And this is from a BBB listed contractor... The BBB is a farce, if you pay to belong, you get rated Excellent...there is no follow up to complaints, the BBB will list any response from the contractor as a satisfactory complaint resolved... I will hire my own subs, and supervise the work myself...That is the only way you can protect yourself from contractor rip off... Hey John, from OSSO..hope you are reading this.... you sh&&.

  • FatHen

    I agree the BBB is a farce...they're thought of as a "consumer organization" but they rarely do anything to help consumers, and they do get their funds from business membership fees. Many businesses also resent the BBB and have referred to the membership, which they may get nothing out of either, as "extortion." Shoddy workmanship, ranging from sloppiness to dangerously unsafe structural defects, is becoming more common. Anyone with a contractor complaint should check out and file a complaint if applicable...also check the polls, etc, on the site.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

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  • pcj42

    The BBB is a ripoff!! We are a self-employed electrical contractor and they call all the time wanting us to join. We don't and never will. I've often thought there should be a place to list problems people have had with contractors. We don't even work for residential contractors because even they give their subs a hard time. We built our own house and contracted it ourselves. The best thing I can recommend when hiring someone to do work for you is word of mouth. Ask other people who they have used.

  • woodinvirginia

    The BBB is a fee paid "PR" firm for the businesses whom subscribe to it. They have no regulatory powers and you won't be kept anonymous in the process. Best thing to deal with Bad contractors is to get EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING in writing first and be specific as to which Brand and model # are bing installed prior to the installation.Plus give a time table for the installation/remodel and LAte penalties if they go over that time table for more than 15 days dues to anything but weather.
    Then when negotiating the proposal if they won't put it in writing specifically; or agree to give you a detailed written proposal. You know either they plan on attempting shortcuts or using builders quality products jacked up at 15-30% over their costs. It has been my tipoff that quality contractors know how to please their customers ; usually they have a line of consumers waiting to do business with them and plenty of word of mouth referrals. When in doubt, Call te Lawyer out. If its in the contract check out Small Claims court.
    Deal with the Builder Regulatory boards as a last resort cause most of them will NOT be able to get your $$$ back and they force you to use binding arbitration .Which generally does not favor your position and you don't decide whom judges your case.

    Don't sign ANY proposals that don't mention the specifics of your work to be done down to the last detail.
    You must become a mini expert in doing business by written contract in order to act as the General Contractor.

  • radioguy4ever

    we just went through a whole ordeal that is wrapping up now... last year we got a grant from our town to have some work done... most electrical. here the electrician doesnt have to be certified or licensed. after the job was done and we suspected shoddy work, we brought in an independant elec inspector and he came out with 6 pages of violations. cost to fix $7500. at first we couldnt get any response from the contractor or the orginazation we got the grant through. once we said the word laywer they changed. now, 6 months later the work is ALMOST done and i have watched over this guys shoulder EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!!! its been a long drawn out ordeal.

  • kimcoco

    I wouldn't necessary go by the BBB. I've filed complaints before and they've gone no where. I've always gone by word of mouth. I've worked with the worst contractors, and I've worked with the best. As a first time homeowner, you learn from your mistakes and you learn to find the people that are good by talking with other homeowners.

    Don't feel bad about your sitation. I can top yours. We hired a contractor for our kitchen who never bothered to get actual quotes from his subcontractors before quoting us a price. We signed the paperwork, and agreed to pay in three installments. We gave him the first and second installments - a total of $12K!, and soon found that his subcontractors are threatening to file liens on our home because of all that money, he never gave them a penny. I said, what? We paid you $12 already and you still haven't paid any of your subcontractors, you haven't finished the job (it was supposed to be done in FEBRUARY, we finally had a kitchen in NOVEMBER!!!!) on earth can we pay you the final installment when the work isn't even done? There was no way I was giving him the final payment. We had to eat out for an entire year because we had no kitchen.

    So, we sent him a certified letter, documented everything, dates, time, payments, and threatened to counter sue him if he does not pay his subcontractors.

    So, the number one rule here is never hire someone who is going to subcontract to others, because you aren't protected. Hire your own cabinet maker, hire your own plumber, hire your own electrician and get written quotes up front. If they come back later and try to charge you more without any revisions, tell them too bad. That's what you quoted me, and that's what I'm paying for the job.

    You will have to countersue if the subcontractors try to file a lien on your home because he neglected to pay them. It's ridiculous.

  • nycefarm_gw

    You need to ask for lien release documents for the subcontractors, which proves they were paid by the contractor. Do not agree to pay the contractor without first securing the lien releases.

  • klimkm

    Definitely get the "release of lien" when he finishes the job. That way you can't get sued by his subs. We insisted on this from our contractor, he balked of course. Ended up signing over the final check that was supposed to go directly to him - over to his drywall sub - for $25K, while the contractor witnessed! Get those signatures!

  • linny46

    I think I have all you beat. I have been out of my house since the Orlando, Florida hurricanes of August, 2004. (Checked out contractor and did everything "right" -- lesson learned is that I would rather have hired an illegal immigrant!) Contractor took 1/3 payment (of total of $90,000) and never did any work. So, six months later, I became proactive and became the contractor -- (I am an editor, a woman) -- I called all the roofing companies in the US and got distributors in my region; I went to their business and picked out my shingles. My contractor, always in contact with me to fool me into thinking he was coming to work on my house, said he wouldn't come unless I bought the shingles and all the roofing supplies (even though I had given him over $29,000!). So to get the house started, and with the advice of a lawyer, I paid out of my own pocket $2,600 and he did come and put on the roof. After that, he gutted the house -- then he got the next payment (about $35,000 -- I checked with a reputable contractor that I should give it to him even though I had my doubts) and again he abandoned my house. It was only after 1 and 1/2 years of fighting and waiting for him to come back and do work, I reported him to the DBPR and he got a little scared. So he sent someone to the house and they did some work outside and never finished it and left. It was only after I exposed him on a TV news consumer show that he came back again. Meanwhile my house is paid for and I am paying for an apartment and storage units ($1800 a month I usually don't have budgeted and so am heading toward bankruptcy -- single mother who never took a cent, no child support from ex-husband). My house is my only equity and now I have no house and so no equity. Again the contractor came back and now put up ceilings and walls -- but the inpsector made him take them down -- no insulation, no furring strips, etc. -- Contractor has total of $65,000 and I have only a roof and walls and ceilings -- he is gone again. I have no floors, no kitchen, no bathrooms, no hot water, no electricity -- of course, I paid my own electrician and plumber to put in a single outlet and one toilet and sink. And I am living there like a pioneer woman. And now I had to contact this "scumbag" contractor again because I found out he used drywall on shower and tub areas! I am making him take down all bathroom walls and low ceilings and redo with cement board. (But I am having cancer surgery and really I don't care any more.) I even have an email from my governor stating that if I can get just one politician to put a bill on his desk for a guaranty fund for insured homeowners (like MA, CN, and CA) he would sign it, but the politicians are afraid of not getting the contractors' votes. There is no recourse for the consumer and homeowner and it is a shame that no one will stand up and do the right thing. Does anyone know how we can get that bill on the books without a politician? Don't they do things like this in CA?

  • meems80

    I am going through a horrific experience myself. The contractor is a royally evil slime! I work for a lawyer and you simply can't do anything except cut your losses when you see how horrible he is. My contractor is Nabeel from Custom Touch Woodworking, in Paterson, NJ. So if anyone is reading this BEWARE! my kitchen has been in complete disarray for over a month. He has taken money and isn't finishing the job. I just learned that this is his forte. He takes your money and never finishes! there's no protection to homeowners really. Especially against evil, money hungry, sloppy, messy, unprofessionals like these.

    I pray that I NEVER go through this again! if anyone reads this and knows this company...then DON'T use them. I have dents, dings, and all kinds of damage in my "new" cabinets. His response is "who cares, why do you need the kitchen finished? you need a sink? no you don't. You need the pieces to fit together? no you don't. You need me to provide the supplies you paid for? no I won't." etc.......

  • nycefarm_gw

    Meems, did you do any due diligence before hiring Nabeel? How did you find him?

  • carolbarrel07

    I'm on the third contractor...two of three really bad ones, promising to complete jobs on time and taking many months more, plus with budget over-runs. The second contractor was good and honest, but he went back to school full-time. Oh, don't even get me started on the charlatan of a plumber we hired. there anyone out there honest, hardworking and who can make an estimate that's realistic?

  • aliza99

    wow! There are so many of us.
    what a shame I didn't look here first. Well, I didn't know about this website till all the problems began. I had no idea how badly fooled we were until it was too late. We can't even find our one page contract. But we definitely did not get everything in writing and we had a different set-up. has anyone ever heard of cost-plus?
    Our contractor bills us 30% above his cost for EVERYTHING.
    He even charges us for fuel of his workers and 30% on top of that.
    We have leaks in our new addition. Our new master shower is leaking into the first floor study, the ceiling tiles in our bathroom fell and shattered all over. Thank g-d no one was in there when that happened. But since we didn't pay him 30% on the tile guy (because he said he wanted us to be happy with the tile guy and he knew this guy was good, he let his commision go on this one thing). So now he's not responsible. we called him and he says he's coming but he sends his guys, bills us and nothing gets fixed.
    I'm talking with a lawyer now and I think he found out so he's starting to get a move on it. There are many other issues that I can't write about because it makes me too frustrated but the bottom line is that I don't want him in my house anymore (he never comes) he sends his lousy workers who come for hours and still haven't figured out how to install the control panel for my jacuzzi. And he billed us for everytime they came even if they didn't figure it out (they say it's the wrong panel it's only for the wall).
    Has anyone ever won a case and gotten their money back???

  • davidandkasie

    Has anyone ever won a case and gotten their money back???

    unfortunately, if the contractor shows up and does the work he was supposed to do, or even ATTEMPTS to do it, then he has fulfilled his end of the contract. he can legally do shoddy work and there is nothing you can do to him, as long as everything was done to code and WITH PERMITS. if you did not get the permits, then you have even less chance of fighting him. he could actually turn you in for unpermitted work and you get in trouble. it is YOUR responsibility to make sure things are done correctly and legally.

    that suck, i know, but as the laws are right now that is the way it is.

    now, you may be able to sue him in civil court and even win and get a judgement. but i bet you 10 to 1 that he will simply close down his company and reopen the next day under a new name. and you will never see a penny.

  • wilderideas


    What a learning experience you can get from five years fighting a construction defect case in Colorado, specifically Denver District Court. The story is true and names and facts are available from the court case (2003CV8332) in the hope this story will protect other homeowners from a similar fate.

    If the structural footers are undersized and hidden, its not covered by insurance unless the structure falls down. Even when you have a structural engineer, a soils engineer and a city inspector, the don't see everything (sometimes it's even hidden)!

    If the electric wires are tampered with and you have to rewire, itÂs not covered unless your property catches on fire!

    If your electrical fixtures are painted voiding their UL code requirements, itÂs not covered, unless your property catches fire!

    If the contractor decides to do the project any way he wants, without regard for your contract, plans or specifications, youÂre not only NOT covered by insurance, you can correctly presume it will not be covered by warranty (since itÂs the contractorÂs warranty).

    If you FIRE your contractor because his performance is sub-standard and he refuses to correct the work to meet the specifications, itÂs not covered and no one else wants to touch it, because the City puts the burden to correct on the replacement contractor!

    If your contractor takes your money and never finishes the guessed it, there is no coverage! And, worse, if he doesnÂt pay the subcontractors, they can file a lien on your property! Since he's paying the subs, he gets the lien release (if he actually pays them).

    If you take him to court for his work product and his breach of contract, his insurance company will defend him and drag it out as long as possible, but the insurance company will not pay you for the work product or breach of contract, even if that work is performed by a sub-contractor hired by your general contractor!

    If you try to go after the contractor, even when you win a jury judgment, he will dispose of all records and start another company under another name,
    and you will have more failure than success stories when you go after him personally. Even worse, while his original insurance company may drop him after the court case, he probably wonÂt tell a new insurance carrier that he has a claim and judgment against him and they wonÂt check!

    Why would I share this story...because it happened! No one ever told me these facts! When I discuss my experiences with City and State officials, insurance agents, construction companies, construction supply companies and homeowners, they are SHOCKED...but not surprised!

    I found that having a written contract, even with a licensed, insured general contractor or subcontractor is NOT enough. The only protection a homeowner may seek is a CONSTRUCTION LOAN where payments are only made by the bank when they have proof the work has been completed or better yet, a PERFORMANCE BOND, for the work being done. Get this before the project begins BUT many contractors cannot secure this type of bond (nor do they want to) would hold them responsible!

    Please heed this notice. Before itÂs time to talk to a lawyer, maybe you should talk with your city and state legislators and building officials. Colorado is one of very few states where contractors can act in this manner. Many of our stateÂs municipalities do not even require licensing for general contractors, (good thing the city of Denver does have this requirement). What this many cities and counties of our state, homeowners donÂt even have the protection of a city license or permit for the work done by the general contractor. Check with your local jurisdiction and see if they oversee the actions of the general contractors they license...surprisingly enough, some do! At the least, NEVER allow a contractor perform work without a permit. IT IS WORTH THE EXPENSE...and at least you have someone looking over your contractor's shoulder to make sure the work is done to code...but even that doesn't always protect you.

    For your information, California is EXTREMELY GOOD about contractor licensing. A contractor like mine, who changed his company name and became an LLC cannot get a contractor's license, as an LLC. They also require a surety bond with licensing, so you have some recourse when there's a problem and they also have a good "complaint" system for consumers.

    There are times when I wonder what the jurors in my case would say
    about the results and the final outcome from the court to date!

    Final Judgment Order Awarded by the jury to Plaintiff $129,160.63 - Nothing has been paid and the contractor is working again under a new LLC business name here in Colorado...using the same subcontractors!

  • sherwoodva

    We had a horrible contractor. Our own fault - we checked his references, but did not actually get his name from someone we knew (Mistake #1). We accepted his very general description of the work his men would do (mistake #2). We didn't watch them every minute (mistake #3). They purchased window molding and used it for the baseboards. DH had to rip it all out. He found pieces of used pizza box they had used as a 'shim.' We finally kicked them out, paid them off, and finished the basement ourselves.

    Then we joined Angie's list. That has been great. We get much more reliable contractors.

  • rileysmom17

    Angie's List is the on-line place to go for references both good and bad. It is sorted by region. You can check out GCs and also get the names of their subs and check on them individually. The suscription is $49/year which you save in headache medicine the first time you pick a winner from the list.

  • debrah

    Best way to find out about contractors? Drive around new neighborhoods, look for newly constructed homes, find the cleaning crew and ask them.

    I work for 7 builders. If a HO came to ask me my opinion I would do so.

  • renderd

    We are first time homeowners and bought our house with the intent to remodel our kitchen.
    We found our contractor after interviewing 4 others and we finally found our guy through a referral from my brother and sister in law.

    So far he's done most of the work and we have paid most of the agreed amount, only he is well over one month overdue on when he said he would be done. He has only come in the odd 2-3 hours every other day or week. His tools and buckets are all over the main floor so we can't even use our house. He has comprimised the security of our house by leaving the doors unlocked on several occasions. He acts like he owns our house! We have mentioned this to him and he tries to turn it all on us and say we don't appreciate him and that he's out of money now...It's not my fault he can't budget his funds. Maybe he should sell his tools and do something productive like work for Huggies.

    Now that our product has been uncovered, we have found shoddy workmanship, flaws everywhere. There's still work to be done only I have no idea on when it will get done, he keeps asking for more cash and goes over his quoted amount. We have decided to let him go and most likely pay the con out just to leave our property permanantly.

    I am now taking matters into my own hands and will fix it all myself and let him go nicely. I am tired of unreliable people!!!

    with all of these conclusions that you can't do anything to the contractor if they don't finish the work agreed upon or they don't pay their subcontractors...then why even hold back the last 5% if he's gonna file a lien anyways? What can we do to protect ourselves?...I forums like these and get everything in writing BEFORE the job starts!

  • Bela29_verizon_net

    I had a second floor additions put in with a local contractor that I checked out with my township" Martin Harrison contractor in Pa and N.J, he was here from beginning to end , inspectors were here , everything went with out the usual problems that I hear from other people, my second from got done and we moved in, 5 years later in the winter we notice that our windows in the second floor were all full of condensation , the house started to have a really bad smell, there were all this cracks starting to appear on our walls,my husband decided to get a ladder and check the attic and came back horrified with his finding, our attic was full of mold, we called the contractor and he told us he would be out in a few days, and he did, told us something we had already notice on my husbands inspection of the attic ( when they build the second floor and insulated the attic, they insulated over the eve vents preventing air from circulation true the attic and trapping moister,the reasons for the mold,he offer to vacuum the mold and I told him I was going to get a mold specialist, and at that point he got mad, well I did get a mold specialist, out to find out that the the problem was bigger than than just the attic,my second floor has to torn down and rebuild do to the extent of the mold,and other structure problems, that my contractor really did not follow state code ,when building my second floor, even leaving electric boxes open in the attic, the list would go on and on , so I got a lawyer and won my case (took 3 years and it could have taken longer if we had not decided to go to arbitration),only thing is the money that I may get will not ever pay for the lawyer the experts and to get my second floor rebuild, I will still have to get a loan , and be able to afford my mortgage and the rent on a place to live until my house is repaired . Also have to find the courage to tell my friends and neighbors that used this contractor after I recommended him because a the time I thought he was a good contractor, so if I can say anything is that there really is no winning when you hire a contractor, and you never really know if they did a good job or not. And the state and the townships inspectors which are payed to check this contractor and the work are a joke.

  • wtf_ever13_yahoo_com

    Home restoration Contractors NOT
    First let me say at first these guys seem very nice and friendly (most con artists do). they will tell you they can do everything under the sun to fix your house and complete all repairs.

    They will have you sign a proposal so they can get on your roof. Which later they use to say is a binding contract for services. If you do not decide to use them for the work they will charge you a fee of 3500.00 dollars and send it directly to your mortgage company. Saying the did all kinds of work and paperwork try to charge for materials that were never delivered and services never render. Derrick the owner of this horrid contrating company feeds on the distressed emotions that home owners go through when they have a serious loss and damage to thier property.

    When you try to call them they do not answer or hang up on you. if they do answer they end up threatening you with a lien against your home or screaming they will sue you.

    With all the bad storms this year please people try to check out companies very closely as the bottom feeders are always out this is one such company I had a run in with them they never got my money but have been harassing my mortgage company for work that was never done!

    Please beware cherry creek restoration and other storm chasing companies like them try to look for someone truly local and check out their work closely.

  • texasredhead

    I have you all beat. I had brain surgery. They went up through my nose!

  • aidan_m

    Not every person who gets conned is stupid. Some are just naive. A fool and their money are easily separated. When you find yourself in the situation of getting conned, stop and figure out whether you are stupid, naive, or a just a fool. If you were naive, make sure you educate yourself in the future. If you keep getting conned in the future, this means you are actually a stupid fool.

    Some people are just not management material. Some people are not cut out to own property. Those people show up over here, crying about nonsense like bad contractors. You should have shown up for the inspection, or shown up for school so you can learn a thing or two, rather than showing up here, after the fact, whining and babbling like a bunch of bumbling idiots. You people need to grow up, show up, accept responsibility, and quit crying. So let's get this straight. The consensus here is contractors can't be trusted. Building inspectors are a joke. Generals rip off customers by using subs, not paying them and they put liens against the property. You guys should just hire unlicensed contractors. (Or do your own work) Then you're in control of everything. You can't get a lien from a guy with no license.

    You arrange your own inspections, and hold the inspector accountable for checking it thoroughly. Ask him questions, and if there is a doubt, he'll send out a specialized inspector.

    All of the "bad contractors" work passed inspection, according to you guys. Why not blame the inspectors, the city, and the building dept? You guys are blaming a general for some poor work performed by his sub, when the inspector passed it. Who's job is it to oversee the inspector? Why aren't you complaining about the ripoff of the tax payers' money? That's the biggest crime here!

    Since we are complacent about our tax dollars going to worthless government agencies, who are supposed to be trusted to protect the consumer, why are we even using licensed contractors? Aren't the contractor's license boards also run by the government? And the bonding agencies, who refuse to pay for damages unless the contractor had a chance to fix it. We already established we can't trust any of these people, public or private. So why bother?

    We would all be better off if we just hired some stupid fools off the street.

  • texasredhead

    My son and I are master electricians. Most of the time we work on our own account, but we do also work with a couple of preferred GCs. Either way, we are hard pressed to find the home owner if we have any questions or concerns.

    Another frequent home owner question; "do we have to get a permit-it costs so much." It is a genuine happy event when we deal with a savy home owner. Makes our job much easier.

  • raizencain

    i hired a landscaper to replace some concrete stones with pavers around my pool. my yard was overtaken with weeds from neglect by my inability to maintain at the age of 63. i wanted the landscaping and pavers to require minimal maintenance. i was so stupid in believing the company "professional" who recommended the area sixe of the new pavers to be installed and recommended what and where plants should go. i relied on his judgement for the type of blocks used for a retainer wall at one end of the pool and the installation of the drainage since the old would be ripped out. From the very beginning nothing was installed as originally planned. There was no real work order that was drawn, only a statement for the proposed work. I never signed any agreement nor did he request my signature to allow the work. The retainer wall was installed 2 inches higher than what I wanted. Pavers were suppose to extend out to and over the retainer wall. Drainage was suppose to prevent the puddling of water on the new pavers so they would not dislodge or have sand washed away from underneath.
    A walkway was suppose to be treated with pre-emergent for weed growth, covered with weed fabric, and 3-4 inches of mulch on top of that. This was a temporary solution to prevent weed growth until I could financially address that area with a permanent solution. I already had a lot of unused rocks in a rockpile at a far end of the yard so the landscaper suggesting to stack the rocks along the fence and ontop of the weed fabric to prevent the mulch from washing away under the fence. The items listed on the proposal consisted of sq. ft. for pavers, amount of mulch to order, plants to install, drainage, and size of retainer wall. During the paver installation, the workers ran out so an additional pallet was ordered. Workers again ran out of pavers and couldnt cover the top of the retainer wall which was already built 2 inches higher than proposal stated. The landscaper told the workers he would not order another pallet of paver and didn't care what they did but to make it work. So now I was faced with buying additional material to cover top of wall with caps, and the area that was suppose to get pavers now got filled in with extra plants and mulch.
    The dirt that was removed for the paver foundation was never hauled off according to the proposal, but dumped in piles of hills 2-5 inches high throughout my back yard. The pavers were either installed 2 inches below ground level or the ground level was raised 2 inches higher from all the dirt dumping. The rocks were never installed along the fence wall as promised and more weed growth than I care to mention was occuring within 2 weeks of the "finished job". The company was paid in full before I realized all the things that were done incorrectly. When it rained all the mulch, sand, rocks and debris were washed into my pool. I tried contacting the company but none of my calls were ever answered nor returned from all the voicemail messages I left. I sent snapshots via cell phone so they could see what was happening and still no response. After 2 weeks of them ignoring my calls, I realized they took the money and ran. I put all the charges on my credit card (don't know why i chose that method to pay cuz in the past have always paid for things like that by check). I called my credit card company to dispute the charges. Every week I faxed my credit card company with an updated statement advising I was still disputing my charges and each statement I sent they forwarded copies to the business. The company gave no response to me or the credit card company. After 3-4 weeks of updating and faxing statements, I was required to provide the credit card company with a signed statement from a 2nd merchant on official business letterhead paper explaining in high detail what was not completed or completed incorrectly along with the cost to complete or repair using the work proposal for comparison. After the credit card's appraisers analyzed all my reports (nothing to analyze from company since they chose to ignore any contact attempts and providing no information whatsoever), the credit card company adjusting my account for amount that was slightly less than the 2nd opinion and allowed the rest to be paid to the original landscape company (Professional Landscaping). Several days after this credit was given to me and debited to Professional Landscaping, the owner finally decided to respond because now he was short $3,000.00 that was taken from him. Showed up at my doorstep wanting to make it good. I don't want him to touch another thing on my property unless I am forced to do so either by litigation or credit card requirement and was advised by credit card it is now too late for him to fix it. He can only dispute now with proof that my claims are invalid. Soooo today, I get certified mail from Professional Landscaping with a printout of Section713.06 Florida Statutes in reference to property lien of his unpaid work he performed. Yet from what I have read here almost every post indicates "do not pay til you are satisfied with work". How can he file a lien if he did not complete the proposed work. I consider any work with defects to be incomplete also. Sorry such looong post. Hope to see some responses. thanks in advance..

  • texasredhead

    Another poster signed on Saturday to share their tale of woe. Suggest you contact an attorney. Appears you will need one. Actually, a property lien is only worth the paper on which it is written. Liens are only good for a limited amount of time and can only be collected if and when the house is sold if the lien has not expired.

  • theBuckarooo

    I would like to deliver to the California State License Board (CSLB) in Sacramento, the results of asking all of you who have gone to them for help if you think the CSLB protects the contractor or the consumer. I will deliver it to them. Let your voices be heard.

  • dculley

    Ours is another sad story. Our builder named his company Dream Builders Homes. From our experience, we suspect that he was being ironic when he chose that name. Anyway, things went south when he made a an expensive mistake and didn't take responsibility for fixing it. (Apparently, having other people pay for his mistakes must be part of his world view). We sure learned a lot about custom home building and what can happen if something goes wrong. We started a blog to share information, tips and suggestions for anyone thinking of having a custom home built, but I think the tips would work for remodeling jobs as well. Anyway- our story, and what we learned from it can be found at:
    Check it out and share with anyone who might learn from our mistakes. Hopefully some good can come out of our misfortune.

    Oh... and to be fair- the Dream Builder Homes we're having major trouble with is in Richland WA. There are actually many unaffiliated companies with that name throughout the US and the other ones may be great for all we know. You'll have to determine that yourself.

  • toxcrusadr

    I reckon 'aidan m' will not see my reply to his rather rude post of Jun 2011, but I just wanted to say: Way to go, attacking the victims. It's unfair to blame customers for the crimes of unscrupulous contractors. You think someone has to be essentially an experienced GC themselves to be 'worthy of owning property?' What a load of hooey.

    I think you owe some of these people an apology.

  • aidan_m

    Those prople already feel sorry enough for themselves. They sign up just to complain.

    There is no way to help those folks, mainly because they never plan on being interactive members of this forum.

    Several of the "victims" paste their rants on multiple public forums with the sole intent of defaming someone.

    It really just smear-campaign propaganda, IMHO.

  • dculley

    re: toxcrusadr response to aidan_m. All good points. I've been trying to figure out the purpose of aidan_m's post for a while now. Most people posting here start with describing what happened to them and then either ask for advice on how to address their problem, or try to give advice on how to avoid those problems. From where I stand, that's just good community spirit... people taking care of each other. I personally believe that internet reviews ROCK.
    I'm not sure how aidan_m's rant fits in there. He seems to be saying that we should educate ourselves regarding contractors and then complains that the reviews we post have "the sole intent of defaming someone." I suspect that there are quite a few "Bad Contractors" out there that don't like the reviews posted concerning their performance and their inability to meet customer expectations and/or contractual obligations. To those "Bad Contractors": It's a new world guys- it's going to be harder and harder to take advantage of a clients ignorance of your past performance and history of customer dissatisfaction. Maybe you ought to start acting professionally, eh?
    And to aidan_m: I agree with toxcrusadr. Constructive comments are appreciated, but I found very little in your posts to appreciate. Actually, both of your posts seem to assume a god-like level of knowledge about the motives, plans and future potential of the members posting on this forum. Maybe you should start using "IMAO" instead of "IMHO" because, frankly, in your case "arrogant" seems more appropriate than "humble".

  • johannesgill

    I can see here, most of the people are trying to blame the contractor all the time. We see many times, contractors lose their contractor money because of the people who hired contractors. Contractors try their best but people are never satisfied.Anyhow people see only one side of the mirror.

  • dculley

    @ johannesgill,
    Note that this discussion is titled "Bad Contractor". It is where clients who have had bad experiences with a contractor either ask for advice on what they can do about the problem or offer advice on how to avoid similar problems. Going through your post:
    Yes- people posting here feel the contractor is at fault and are "blaming" them.
    We now have a good contractor and I know a number of other good contractors. They generally don't "lose their contractor money" because they know their trade and leave satisfied customers.
    Not all contractors "try their best". Many of the posts in this forum describe examples that illustrate that fact. And some who do try their best are still bad contractors because they are incompetent and/or don't take responsibility for their mistakes.
    "...people are never satisfied." If you are a contractor and your clients are never satisfied, you are not making the world a better place and maybe you should give serious consideration to doing something else.
    Re "one side of the mirror": I personally think that there are many more good contractors than bad contractors, but this is not the "praise for good contractors" forum. Feel free to start one.

  • hometweethome

    I first had Mario Falco as my general contractor who promised he'll do a great job because he wants to use my house as a spring board into my community. His cousin's children go to the same school as mine. I trusted him. But he disappeared during framing with the overpayment. Then I worked with Nick Girardi of NGI Constructions per my son's friend's mom's strong recommendation. He seemed to be fine until the end when his truck backed into my car and refused to pay for the damage. Then months later when I was sorting through tons of documents, I realized he ended up charging me way more than what other subcontractors had originally bidded for. That made me feel sick to my stomach. He never repaired the damage his worker caused and worst of all he didn't pay the floor subcontractor, who's a really nice guy, the full amount that he deserves and caused him to go bankrupt. How could such person sleep at night? You know what's worse? His children go to my children's school! The gall he has!!

  • Farmybarb

    I am so sorry for what you are going through, but you think you got it bad read this. Signed contract on 9/12/2013 to install new pier and boatlift and to modify existing pier to match new pier and to modify existing boatlift. We gave him 50% down as required by contract and he said he would show up in three days. We waited and he never showed up and we finally contacted him 3 weeks later to inform him we feel we made a mistake in hiring him because he had not called or showed up for work. That got his attention and he called us and said he would be there in 4 days which all he did and that was to drop off his equipment. When he did show up all he could do was mock us about non-communication which we stated in our e-mail was one of the issues we had with him along with racial slurs about the laziness of blacks and their burden on society. Not to mention the bad mouthing he did about other local contractors in the area. All this was coming out of his mouth well professing to be a deeply religious man. We would have fired him then if it were not under contract. After dropping off barge October 3 they could not work because his equipment to set the piles was broke down. October 7 machine working and 3 piles set. October 8 machine not working no work. October 9 machine working 3 piles set. This is how the entire job went. The post are not set in line and are all crooked and damaged to the point it has reduced the life span of the piles. Carpenters finally show up for work and complained to us that the piles are not straight. The carpenters had no direction and it was not until I drew up a sketch as to what was to be done did they have a clue as what to do. The carpenters he hired stated to us that they had not been paid. On October 29 we offered to give Stuart an additional $1,000 so he could pay his employees for the new pier they built. Stuart came by picked up the $1,000 and that same day he removed his trailer and we never heard from him again. E-mailed him November 4 to get an idea when the boatlift would be installed and what was going on. No reply. Have gone by his office on two occasions and no one is ever there. November 11 I go to his office have confrontation with Stuart about work not being complete and he told me that if I wanted my boatlift that I should write a check to his subcontractor. I refused to write that check to his subcontractor because my contract is with Key Largo. At this point I have a partially finished pier, no boatlift, crooked pilings to existing piers, no modifications to existing piers and no modifications to existing boatlift. He, however, has intentionally left 2 ladders on our property which indicates to us that he has not walked off this job should we file a lawsuit. November 21 after emails I agreed to pay the balance of the contract because his Subcontractor that does the boatlift did not trust him to pay him for the work. Cummings came by my home picked up a check for the balance of contract and said he was headed to Anchor Boat Lifts to discuss installing lift and he would get back with us. It is now 12/03 and no contact from him. Emailed him again on the 2nd and still no response. The communications from this man are unbelievable.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    As a contractor licensed in 2 states and with a 4.7 out of a possible 5 www.homeadvisor customer satisfaction rating, it pains me greatly to read threads like this.

    I am constantly selling the value of my integrity to potential customers and have to be vigilant that I get those customers who value that integrity over price.

    The .3 customers keeping me from a perfect 5.0 rating are those that I failed to screen out and I accept that.

    I don't know the solution. I will continue to sell value to honest people who will undoubtedly choose other contractors unwisely.

  • dkenny

    there will always be 'bad' contractors..
    some just don't belong in the industry..they just scam people and give the rest of us bad names.

    so learn from what they do and don't do it.
    don't ask for money upfront..if you must..let it be for have to pay for them anyway. or have them buy the you just out your time..
    the amount you get paid for you 'time' will vary..that's the way it works..but at least your out of pocket (materials) is paid..sure for the detailed people the travel time and vehicle expenses aren't covered..but that's the gamble..job done right you get paid and referred..the referral pays off in the long run
    so easy up on the star rating..I don't have one..

    its winter around here and I booked for the next 2 weeks easy...and some is outside( on warm enough days)..for me its going on 11 yrs..and counting

  • southerncanuck

    As a individual that was involved with, not a contractor personally but managed a contractors business I can tell you there are bad customers out there as well. Several weeks to choose finishes then complain to our dealership's head office that we are behind schedule.

    Asking the crew to do things while "your here" and refuse to pay for those services because it wasn't in the contract and no one made out a work order with a quote or they thought the crew was doing them a favor. Then holding us responsible for a scratch on the wall from moving a fridge for them and want the entire room painted and millwork refinished.

    Out and out refusing to allow is to pull a permit because of political reasons, I swear I've heard it all. No permit no work, lost more than a few jobs over permits.

    Growing pains.

    Holding back the final 10% because of a myriad of unfounded deficiencies. I can site these occurrences for pages and pages.

    No one talks about bad customers. It took me a while to get a feel for the customers that I knew were going to be trouble and knew we had such a small margin for profit would actually lose money if we took on the job. Getting the sales guys not to close the deal was a tough one. Turning down work sounds crazy but we had to sometimes, I learned I basically had to interview potential customers in the showroom.

    .A sales guy actually tried to sue us for lost commission on a job that was just too big for our small company. The judge praised us for not filling our plate with more than we could eat. Something to that effect. It made the papers and was good for our little operation. I told the judge we build small sunrooms not Taj Mahals.

    There's two sides to a coin folks.

  • BathroomDisaster

    Hey KitchenDad, I too live in Fairfax County, VA and have recently had a similar experience with a contractor on a simple bathroom remodel. Do you mind sharing the name of the contractor you worked with? Maybe we could swap stories.

  • dreamgarden

    "If you try to go after the contractor, even when you win a jury judgment, he will dispose of all records and start another company under another name"

    This is true. This happened with at least two roofers we hired. Both started out using one company name and then 'went out of business', opened another business using a different corp name so they could hide from legal liability.

    The next roofer did a crappy job and we didn't pay him. We didn't learn until after we had the first job done, that our house already had a roof warranty (from the previous owner) with the second company.

    The second company came by and stapled two shingles to the roof, left the rest of the pack in the garage and tried to charge us $400.00. I asked about the warranty. The owner said it was expired (it wasn't)

    He demanded money anyway but was stupid enough to say if we didn't pay by a certain date that he wouldn't be able to put a lien on our house.

    LOL! Thanks for sharing! Needless to say we did NOT pay for crap work still under warranty. I checked the court docket and there is nothing in there but bad news about THEM.

    I joined Angies List to find a good roofer. I thought they were great until I saw them remove a TON of bad reports about the company I used that had changed their name.

    Now I'm thinking they are as bad as the corrupt BBB who ANYONE can join so long as they give them money.

    I was at a big box store and found a book by Mike Holmes with a lot of good info on how to handle contractors BEFORE you give them ANY money. That book is now my reference for starting new projects. That and the Court of Common Pleas Docket!

    A link that might be useful:


  • ladysmith008

    Trebruchet ( Boasting a rating, any rating with HOME ADVISOR means NOTHING! Home advisor routinely refuses to publish negative comments from consumers! Think about it, it hurts their own bottom line to publish one. I know. Our contractor (CIC, LLC owned by Duane Honeycutt in Black Mountain, NC) walked of the job with our money and didn't complete the job and the work they did complete was sub par. And we witnessed our property in their truck and retrieved it so theft occurred and we were dogged by fear they would steal our property again. Their framing failed inspection, poorly insulated addition (This was routine for this company since he stated the same insulation company did all his projects. Thankfully, we saw the lack of adequate insulation and fixed it ourselves before they installed the drywall because CIC wouldn't add the required insulation, walls were supposed to be made waterproofed, but were not and were in fact made less so by CIC installing screws in the basement walls, and the list goes on and is indeed extensive. He didn't even follow our plans so what we ended up with doesn't even look like our proposed addition! After being threated with court, HOME ADVISOR did post our complaint but it was later removed! Now this incompetent boob has 5 stars for only 2 good reports! We are now paying an attorney to have a lien removed since he's filed a lien based on our refusal to pay after the electrical work was completed. The problem is THE ELECTRICAL WORK WAS NEVER COMPLETED! We're looking into a suit for the frivolous lawsuit he filed against us to pay for our attorney fees.

  • millworkman

    *** deleted ***

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "Trebruchet ( Boasting a rating, any rating with HOME ADVISOR means NOTHING! Home advisor routinely refuses to publish negative comments from consumers! Think about it, it hurts their own bottom line to publish one."


    I have had two disputes with homeadvisor over my ratings. A lady gave me a poor review for a job I didn't do because I was never contracted for it. When I come over to fix your granite you can't complain that I did a poor job on your roof. After investigating, homeadvisor removed the review.

    Another unhappy customer and I agreed in writing that he would be completely satisfied with a partial refund. He subsequently wrote a poor review. Despite my written proof that the customer was satisfied, homeadvisor let his review stand. And I have to listen to you tell me that "homeadvisor routinely refuses to publish negative comments from consumers". This just isn't so.

    I love my negative reviews. I wouldn't remove them even if I could. They add credibility that you just can't buy. If you find a contractor with all glowing reviews all the time, you've found a liar.

  • Decorating Mom

    I know this thread is old, but the problem is very current to me! Were any solutions found? Any resources in Fairfax, VA, for contractors who don't finish the job?

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd

    What type of job Decorating Mom?

  • Lynn Huff

    Adrian_M, you must be one of those "sub-standard contractors." Your arrogance is appalling.

  • Steve Gardner

    Hired general contractor Total Home Improvement, INC. Starla Muir failed to
    pay the sub contractors for the work they completed on my home remodel, she did
    not pay the drywall , elec. or floor contractors total around 15k she had the
    money from me 96k to pay them, she over charged us in Oct of 2015 for the total
    of 96k now these contractors are putting
    a lien on my home , she will not give us all the paper work for the work done
    on the house. I have repeatedly contacted her for the paper work and I believe
    she is holding it back from me for some reason. The paper work is the proof of
    what she has done so far.

    Her work was subpar in the first place, doors out of plane, can see day
    light thought the back and front doors, and she would not make repairs. Now
    having to spent money to rework the work she did on the house. She did not
    finish the work on the house and then wonted 16k to finish the work on the
    house, we told her we were not going to give her anymore money, and she stated
    that if we did not pay the remainder on the bid $2600.00 of the 102k she would
    but lien on the house, we pay her the money after she knowing owned the sub contractors over 15k
    but did not tell us of these bills, I found out she had not pay the subs after
    talking to them on the phone the next few days, they were listed on the paper
    work she give us after paying the money on the bid we sign for payment in full.
    She also got $3600.00 a week earlier. We believe she marked up labor and material
    on this job, The job was done very poorly no quality at all., She
    also states on her web site and paper work that she is a member of the BBB
    which is not true. None of the trim work matches up, around the window 1/2 to
    1/4 inch off and filled with silicone to hide her poor workmanship, did the
    same thing with the molding inside, cut it wrong just added more silicone and
    painted over to hide it. Did the same thing with the new windows on the outside
    of the house.

  • toxcrusadr

    Do I have this right, you hired a general contractor who also did the doors and trim work? I'm not in the construction biz, just thought this was odd.

    In any case it sounds like you should talk to a lawyer.

  • sushipup1

    Sorry, I've seen plenty of so-called Christian crooks, people who even take advantage of people in their own church.

  • PRO
    Beck Renovate and Remodel

    Commenting as a contractor from PA we are required to register with the state to be a registered remodeler. I would suggest complaining to your state under the RRP renovation act. This would at least put it on record of the problem.

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