IIf you are considering calling All Custom Woodworks, or, worse yet, thinking about hiring them, we have a recommendation based on our recent experience: DON’T. Look elsewhere. Find another company.
To be fair, we are pleased with the final result. But that’s about as much praise as we can muster. And this came after numerous headaches, tears, frustrations and complaints. Refacing a guest bathroom vanity and building new master bath cabinets ended with a punch list of 42 items, most of which were completed to satisfaction eventually, but it didn’t come easy or quickly.
The main problem with ACW is not their crew; it’s not even their work. It’s their owner, Troy Carlock. He is totally unfamiliar with the term “customer service,” and, to put it bluntly and as nicely as we can, an extremely unpleasant person to deal with. We could write pages and pages of negative statements. But suffice it to say:
1. We filed a complaint with the State Contractor’s Licensing Board and some issues did appear to be resolved through this action. A mediator was assigned to our case and in a phone conversation with her, she alluded to the fact that Troy was uncooperative with both us and her. Because it is our belief that Troy handled some issues both unethically and illegally as they pertain to our contract, and because several of our complaints had previously been received and cited by the Licensing Board, in agreement with the mediator, we are moving forward and an investigation by the Licensing Board is set to take place.
2. The contract we signed stated that the job would take approximately 8 weeks to complete. It took almost 8 months and this was a job that, by Troy’s own admission, was a small project. It took 2 months from the signing of the contract before any on-site work even began. The workers’ showing up on site was inconsistent and sporadic at best and we typically didn’t know from day to day when they would be here or how long they would stay.
3. At the signing of the contract, we gave Troy the required 10% deposit. Twelve days later, we signed an “authorized additional work” addendum, increasing the total cost of the contract by $2,000. At that time, Troy asked for an additional $3,000, which we gave him. This resulted in him having asking for and receiving almost 40% of our total job cost up front, which, according to state law, is illegal. He told us the money was to pay for 2 custom cabinets. When confronted, he claimed he never said it was for the 2 cabinets but was, instead, a “progress payment.” Of course, since it was made less than 2 weeks after signing the original contract, and at the same time as signing for additional work, we can’t quite figure out what “progress” could have possibly been done in that short amount of time. (Precise measurements hadn’t even been taken yet.)
4. We discussed the job in detail with Troy prior to signing the contract. Unfortunately (for us) apparently his memory isn’t very good and his contract was extremely vague; it was handwritten, very general and, in hindsight, totally unprofessional. Of course, this served him when he refused to haul off trash resulting from the removal of our old cabinets (“it’s not in the contract”), refused to install hardware (“it’s not in the contract”), etc. In fact, he even falsely accused us of “tricking” the installer into doing work that was not included in the contract. This was absolutely untrue.
5. He attempted to charge us an additional amount for completed work; work he later claimed was done even though not included in the contract. (Again, blatantly untrue. All work had been discussed with him in detail prior to signing the contract). This attempt to sneak in an additional $2,000 failed when we asked for the signed change order (which we, of course, knew did not exist) and then quoted his own contract, which stated that any added work and/or price change must be “set forth…in a signed change order…” Remarkably, the invoices reverted to the original contract amount.
6. Troy had absolutely no regard, and certainly no respect, for our time. We often had one hour notice that his crew was showing up to work -- and that was only because we would email or call first thing in the morning to ascertain if work was going to be done that day. We were unable to make any plans of our own because we never wanted to be unavailable if work was going to actually happen. When we asked, weeks in advance, for certain completion dates to accommodate our schedule, i.e. guests arriving for the holidays, he said he would do his best. It never happened.
7. We were concerned with the quality on some of our cabinets -- in some cases, when we wiped certain areas to remove very obvious fingerprints, a small amount of stain came off on our rag. There were other spots where it looked as though the dark stain did not adhere, or was not heavy enough, to cover the wood. These items, both included on the punch list, were called to ACW’s attention; his installer agreed that there appeared to be some issues. After considerable back & forth discussions, Troy finally agreed to take all the doors and drawers back to his shop to be restained and revarnished. He never once acknowledged that there had been a workmanship problem; instead, what he (ridiculously) said was that we had “intentionally abused” the cabinets. These are the same cabinets we had just paid thousands of dollars for but, according to Troy, we decided to “intentionally abuse” them.
9. Finally, after the refinished cabinets were reinstalled, we were advised to wait 2 weeks before wiping them. We decided to hold off the final payment for those 2 weeks just to make sure that no stain came off this time. We advised Troy of our plan. 10 days after the job was completed and final invoice emailed to us, Troy, using his bullying tactic, notified us that our payment was 30 days overdue and he was sending it out for collection. (As promised, our final payment was made 2 weeks after the reinstallation and after we had determined that everything seemed to be done right this time.)
If this review sounds angry, it’s because we are, indeed, angry. No one deserves to be treated this way. We had many sleepless nights dealing with the stress. We cancelled many plans because of the disregard for our time. We lived for almost 8 months surrounded by dust and dirt and without the full use of our home. We know that home remodels are not necessarily easy or pleasant, but this was way beyond the scope of what anyone who is paying good money should have to endure. We could go on and on. We could list another 20++ complaints. Hopefully, anyone reading this will get the idea and find another company to do their work. Believe us, you’ll be much less stressed -- and no doubt far more pleased with the outcome.