Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance? (Main Board)

by IT guy, Friday, July 24, 2020, 09:53 (19 days ago)

I've posted previously about this roofing company that installed my roof last fall. There was originally a crooked valley issue and a gutter issue. They eventually fixed both issues after after months of phone tag and different people coming out.

I discovered that their business model goes like this: they have several crews of Mexicans (illegals?) doing almost all the real work, a couple of guys that seem to just go around and fix the main crews' mistakes, some project "managers", and estimators. And last but not least, they have an office full of people who don't seem to do jack shit and can't seem to communicate or get scheduling right. Seems like all of these people with cushy jobs are feeding off of people who do the vast majority of the real work for below market wages. Reminds me of another industry!

So anyway....a couple months ago, I noticed buckling shingles in a couple of spots. I called their main office to complain and they sent out a guy that same week to fix. He said something about it being too cold when the roof was installed and the adhesive didn't get a chance to bond until it warmed up. Also said something about not enough nails being used.

Last month, I noticed similar issues in a half dozen new spots (on the same side). Here are a couple of pictures:

https://hosting.photobucket.com/images/jj299/edrog22/roof_b.jpg
https://hosting.photobucket.com/images/jj299/edrog22/roof_a.jpg

Called again and asked for a manager this time. He came out the next day and said he'd get it all taken care of.

It's been a few weeks and I've heard nothing. I called the office back last week and left a message for this manager and no response. Seems to be a pattern. When someone gets back to you, they usually leave the main line #. When I try to reach them via the main line, they are almost always "out to lunch" or "out of the office". When leaving a message, the message often either doesn't get to them or they ignore it (or take their time responding).

There is one person in the office who has been helpful but most of the people I've dealt with have been little or no help.

I've been patient but am at the point where I'm about ready to say fuck it and post bad reviews online, followed by a letter from an attorney (if the bad review doesn't get results). Only reason I haven't gone this route is because I'm kinda stuck with these people due to the warranty.

Maybe send an email to the people I have on file and give them one last chance to make things right and actually threaten to post bad reviews? Or just do it? I've never actually sued anyone before and would rather avoid the hassle, but tired of playing games with these people, who I've been going back and forth with for almost 10 months now.

Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by FSK, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:10 (19 days ago) @ IT guy

Lawyering up is generally not worth it.

If they have a habit of doing bad work and stiffing people, they probably already have lawyers.

Do you have a contract with him? Read it. Does it have a mandatory arbitration clause?

Also be careful, the contract may say that you have to pay their legal expenses if you lose. Just because you're right, doesn't mean you will win!

Also, the lawsuit will take years and $$$ and stress, more than the value of the roof repairs.

FSK's Recommendation:

Leave a negative review.

Hire someone competent to fix your roof.

Write it off as a loss and a lesson.

Unfortunately, you can make a more profitable business giving bad service than good service. Most people only replace their roof once, so there's no repeat customers to lose.

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I agree with this

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:32 (19 days ago) @ FSK

Once again FSK nails it. Agreed with all.

Lawyer fees on your part would be well in excess of the value of any repair. Plus the stress. Meanwhile you stand the chance of not prevailing and having to pay these turds' legal expenses if your suit fails.

Paper the local review sites with documentation of their shitty work.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

You guys are right

by IT guy, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:52 (19 days ago) @ Pepe the Programmer

I just get tired of giving money to assholes that don't do their job right and have had similar experiences with other so-called professionals (mechanics, dentists, etc). If they're doing it to me, they're likely doing it to others.

One really has to be diligent to keep from getting ripped off, and even then, there are no guarantees.

I've concluded that it's best to just "do it yourself" unless absolutely necessary to hire out something. Of course a roof doesn't fall under that category but I don't care to deal with contractors unless absolutely necessary.

Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by IT guy, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:45 (19 days ago) @ FSK

Thanks for the advice.

I have never actually sued anyone before. I did go to a lawyer once after an uninsured motorist rear ended me but that was a lawyer/insurance company thing and the amount I was awarded (settled out of court) didn't cover the bills.

Anyway, one would think they would have more negative reviews if they have a habit or doing bad work. Maybe their lawyers harass people for leaving bad reviews. I do have pictures that clearly show their bad work so I'm not sure what they can do about that. Or maybe they are not such a bad company and I've just had bad luck. I did my research prior to hiring them and saw no red flags.

Do you have a contract with him? Read it. Does it have a mandatory arbitration clause?

Also be careful, the contract may say that you have to pay their legal expenses if you lose. Just because you're right, doesn't mean you will win!

Yes, I did sign a contract. No mandatory arbitration clause. The only thing that mentions litigation is that the customer pay attorney fees/court costs if the company files suit against the customer for non payment.

Maybe I'll try one last ditch effort to get them to honor their warranty (which is supposed to be 10 years). If that falls through then proceed with further action (negative review, etc).

Write it off as a loss and a lesson.

One mistake I made here was not paying with a credit card (to avoid an extra $400 fee). I did pay the initial down payment with a credit card, and the remainder with a check. A credit card gives you the ability to do a chargeback in case they refuse a refund after shitty service. I learned that after dealing with a mechanic.

After everything seemed to be fixed a few months back, I went ahead and paid the balance thinking they finally resolved whatever issues there were. A couple months go by and suddenly the shingles stated buckling in different spots. I didn't see that coming.

Unfortunately, you can make a more profitable business giving bad service than good service. Most people only replace their roof once, so there's no repeat customers to lose.

Yep. They're onto new and more lucrative jobs.

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Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:58 (19 days ago) @ IT guy

Try to go as high up in the company as you can. Try to speak with the owner(s).

Also, post public feedback on their Facebook page (the ratings section) and also Google or Yelp pages. Sometimes companies try to do damage control on social media and it might spur them to do the right thing.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by IT guy, Friday, July 24, 2020, 14:31 (19 days ago) @ Pepe the Programmer

It's worth a try. Thanks for the suggestions.

I am one of those oddballs without Facebook but do plan on posting a Google review. Yelp is good. The BBB has a section as well. If push comes to shove, I will post there also.

I tried to find the owner's e-mail address online awhile back but no luck. Tried guessing his e-mail and sent an email awhile back but no response. I did email one of his employees around the same time and she was on it so perhaps he did see my email. Maybe I'll email her since she's the only one that's been the least bit helpful and CC what I think his address is. Worth a shot.

Trying to get ahold of him via the main office would be a waste of time. They have this super polite and disarming old lady that works the phones. If you're trying to reach someone, they're usually "out of the office" or "out to lunch" and she asks if you want to leave a message with her. Most of the time there is no return call so either she doesn't get the message to them or they just ignore it. When people call, they always say to call them back at the main line so no direct extensions.

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Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 14:37 (19 days ago) @ IT guy
edited by Pepe the Programmer, Friday, July 24, 2020, 15:02

Try B2B listing sites such as Manta, Zoominfo, and maybe even Linkedin. You might see if there is a Fiverr.com gig that will dig up personal data for an individual. There are also contact tracer sites where you pay to obtain someone's personal phone number and email address and cell numbers.

You're being cucked by the receptionist. You may want to mention that you're proceeding to legal action if you aren't allowed to talk to the real decision makers.

Sometimes gatekeepers have a personal religion about keeping filthy unwashed plebs away from the virtuous owners, and that self righteous type needs to be shot in the forehead.

But sometimes gatekeepers get totally screamed at and threatened for allowing someone unauthorized to talk with Mr. Big. So it may help your cause to give the receptionist a clear reason why your call is important enough to put through.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

Is it time to lawyer up or should I give contractor one more chance?

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 10:57 (18 days ago) @ Pepe the Programmer

Try B2B listing sites such as Manta, Zoominfo, and maybe even Linkedin. You might see if there is a Fiverr.com gig that will dig up personal data for an individual. There are also contact tracer sites where you pay to obtain someone's personal phone number and email address and cell numbers.

Will look into, thanks for the info!

You're being cucked by the receptionist. You may want to mention that you're proceeding to legal action if you aren't allowed to talk to the real decision makers.

Yeah. Funny how they put a sweet old lady in that role. She might be the owner's mother for all I know. But I'm done kissing her ass. I won't be rude but will be straight and to the point.

Sometimes gatekeepers have a personal religion about keeping filthy unwashed plebs away from the virtuous owners, and that self righteous type needs to be shot in the forehead.

But sometimes gatekeepers get totally screamed at and threatened for allowing someone unauthorized to talk with Mr. Big. So it may help your cause to give the receptionist a clear reason why your call is important enough to put through.

That could very well be the case!

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disagree with this

by ,ndo, Shit for brains, Friday, July 24, 2020, 20:43 (19 days ago) @ FSK

I disagree with this recommendation.

I do agree that you should read the contract.

You should (1) know the contract (including any contractual terms implied by law), (2) know the law (local, state and federal as applicable), and (3) always bear in mind that a contract can never overrule the law.

When you know the contract and the law, you might decide that a letter of demand is the way to go. A letter of demand is where you civilly and professionally and in unambiguous and direct terms set out your claim(s), the grounds for your claim, and the steps for the other party to take which will resolve the claim to your satisfaction. Keep at the forefront of your mind that you want the reader to know that if they do X, Y and Z then the problem will go away. Then to them the decision becomes do they want the problem to go away, because here is the recipe to make that happen. Place "LETTER OF DEMAND", centred, before your text and after date, addressee etc, with one or two blank lines before and after "LETTER OF DEMAND". There is no need to make any threats, the form and content of the letter implies that legal action is a possibility if the reader does not follow the recipe. Send it registered mail or whatever is required to get a signature that it was received.

You might even run it past a lawyer when you're ready to send it. But since you're in IT, just treat the whole project as a programming project, do your research, do the project methodically and logically, and you will probably produce a good letter.

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Be your own paralegal - good advice

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 22:06 (19 days ago) @ ,ndo

,ndo - I thought of exactly that, too.

The narrow scope of FSK's recommendation is to not sue or use an attorney to pursue this.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that IT Guy should act as his own paralegal and research where he is at thoroughly in terms of what the contract states. That element was left out of FSK's advice.

The contract may even leave out conditions such as cosmetics as terms of the work.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

disagree with this

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 11:03 (18 days ago) @ ,ndo

While he's probably right that going the lawyer route isn't worth it, I'm not giving up on getting the company to make this right just yet.

The contract is pretty straigtforward.

I am going to send out an informal e-mail over the weekend to one of the employees who has actually been somewhat helpful and going to CC the boss (or what I think his email is if I don't find it).

If that doesn't work, I'll write a more formal letter. I like this idea.

But since you're in IT, just treat the whole project as a programming project, do your research, do the project methodically and logically, and you will probably produce a good letter.

Yep. This would be one step in the process. Good analogy.

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An aside on contractors

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:35 (19 days ago) @ IT guy
edited by Pepe the Programmer, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:42

In my area, anyway:

Anyone who advertises as a contractor has 2X+ the business they can handle.

Even shitty assed contractors are backed up for weeks or months on current projects.

Home repair/probably all kinds of building contracting are currently a gold rush.

It's *probably* driven by 1) stimulus checks and 2) reluctance to purchase new property by current owners, so contractors are in short supply to upgrade existing dwellings.

The dynamics aren't favorable to even really shitty contractors being spanked. They have all the business they need and then some.

Most contractors these days probably feel they can get away with anything.

It feels quite a bit different from when we got some work done 15 years ago. It seemed kind of competitive then. Today all contractors suck.

The only ones that need business now are really terrible and unreliable. Drunk hillbillies (literally) and the like.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

Same situation around here

by IT guy, Friday, July 24, 2020, 13:57 (19 days ago) @ Pepe the Programmer

I called another roofing contractor to get a second opinion of these issues with the buckling shingles. He said he couldn't get anyone out to fix it until September. Called another company and they couldn't even send anyone out to merely look at it until September.

Home repair/probably all kinds of building contracting are currently a gold rush.

It's been like this for at least the past few years. Figured the pandemic would slow it down, but you explain it well here:

It's *probably* driven by 1) stimulus checks and 2) reluctance to purchase new property by current owners, so contractors are in short supply to upgrade existing dwellings.

The dynamics aren't favorable to even really shitty contractors being spanked. They have all the business they need and then some.

Most contractors these days probably feel they can get away with anything.

Unfortunately that seems to be the case. If the bottom drops out, which could very well happen soon, these contractors may not be so "in demand".

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Dont Waste Your Time With Lawers @$200+ Per Hour

by Hillarys Colon, Friday, July 24, 2020, 14:37 (19 days ago) @ IT guy

Lawyers are a huge waste of time and money at our level. They will plow you for $200+ per hour and you will get very little in return. I had one charge me $500 to write a freakin letter and you know what it got me? NOTHING.

Here is what I would do - go talk to the owner. Go to their office and talk to them in person. Whatever you do, dont be nasty. Be nice but firm. Maybe they will respond, maybe not. Thanks to the situation with the trades they can call the shots and they know it.

If the guy is unreceptive than go to the BBB and file a complaint. Put in complaints all over the web along with names. You can even send ito the local paper - they usually have a section called Bamboozled or something which is generally about stuff like this.

Move on and get it fixed. Thats it.

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I disagree with this too

by ,ndo, Shit for brains, Friday, July 24, 2020, 21:07 (19 days ago) @ Hillarys Colon
edited by ,ndo, Friday, July 24, 2020, 21:38

This part I agree with:

go talk to the owner. Go to their office and talk to them in person. Whatever you do, dont be nasty. Be nice but firm. Maybe they will respond, maybe not.

And also the part about spending lots of money on lawyers for little or nothing in return.

But do not badmouth anyone in any way. They become your adversary. Keep it amicable and professional. Embed in the other guy's mind the mindset that the pair of you are trying to resolve a problem.

Sure, some guys are arseholes and have no intention of responding in a positive way. But lay out a path for them and put the ball in their court as to whether or not they choose to cooperate. If they refuse, then consider whether you want to drop it or take it further. Stay unemotional at all times. Obviously keep copies of everything but also make diary-like notes that together paint the bigger picture, in hardcopy. If called upon, they will paint you in a good light and the other party in a poorer light because you are attempting to do the right thing in resolving the dispute and they are not.

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Online reviews are fair game

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Friday, July 24, 2020, 22:08 (19 days ago) @ ,ndo

If IT Guy pursues all amicable avenues and nothing beneficial happens, he is well within his rights to create some blistering online reviews.

Beware, however. Consumers can and do get sued all of the time by businesses that they post negative reviews of.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

Online reviews are fair game

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 11:46 (18 days ago) @ Pepe the Programmer

I have heard about that. Not sure they have much of a case if I'm just stating facts and posting pics of their work.

Perhaps they have gone after negative reviewers previously as there are very few negative reviews that I see for the company. It's either that, or it is actually a good company and this is a rare occurrence for them. If it's the latter, they should be willing to work with me.

The buckling issues could very well be due to doing the roof when it was too cold. They should have known better than to do it that day if it was too cold. The foreman in charge of the project wasn't around most of the time nor did he inspect it when they were done. They sent some other guy a few days later who was not there during job. There are just too many people involved and a lack of communication.

I disagree with this too

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 11:37 (18 days ago) @ ,ndo

And also the part about spending lots of money on lawyers for little or nothing in return.

I thought for sure that I would have a case. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. I have limited experience with lawyers so take I'll yours (and the others) word for it.

But do not badmouth anyone in any way. They become your adversary. Keep it amicable and professional. Embed in the other guy's mind the mindset that the pair of you are trying to resolve a problem.

I have no desire to get anyone in trouble so I wasn't going to bring up names. I would mention the very few who have been helpful. That's on the owner to figure out who's responsible.

Sure, some guys are arseholes and have no intention of responding in a positive way. But lay out a path for them and put the ball in their court as to whether or not they choose to cooperate. If they refuse, then consider whether you want to drop it or take it further. Stay unemotional at all times. Obviously keep copies of everything but also make diary-like notes that together paint the bigger picture, in hardcopy. If called upon, they will paint you in a good light and the other party in a poorer light because you are attempting to do the right thing in resolving the dispute and they are not.

I have no problem taking it further if they're not receptive to fixing it. They are not getting off the hook that easy.

Dont Waste Your Time With Lawers @$200+ Per Hour

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 11:28 (18 days ago) @ Hillarys Colon

Lawyers are a huge waste of time and money at our level. They will plow you for $200+ per hour and you will get very little in return. I had one charge me $500 to write a freakin letter and you know what it got me? NOTHING.

$500 for a LETTER? Geez. I was thinking about having a letter written.

Here is what I would do - go talk to the owner. Go to their office and talk to them in person. Whatever you do, dont be nasty. Be nice but firm. Maybe they will respond, maybe not. Thanks to the situation with the trades they can call the shots and they know it.

I like this idea. Although they have more than one office and the other office is like two hours away. They don't really have a main HQ so I'm not sure which office he would be in. I guess I need to do some digging to find out what city he live in and that would be the office he is at.

If the guy is unreceptive than go to the BBB and file a complaint. Put in complaints all over the web along with names. You can even send ito the local paper - they usually have a section called Bamboozled or something which is generally about stuff like this.

I will not hesitate to go this route if they don't make it right.

You're talking employee names?

Action Plan

by IT guy, Saturday, July 25, 2020, 12:15 (18 days ago) @ IT guy

Thanks for your suggestions. Here's what I have planned:

1. Send an e-mail to an employee who has been helpful on a couple of occasions previously and copy the owner. Debating whether to add their office email as well but it's probably better to keep the recipients to a minimum. I figure the more people that are added, the more they will talk and scheme to cover their asses. Attach the pictures and stick to the facts. Express my disappointment but don't bash them. Give them an opportunity to make things right.

2. Start calling them every day and ask to speak to the owner.

3. If no response to the above after a couple days, type up a letter of demand as ndo suggested. Send it via priority mail and require a signature.

4. Visit their office and ask to speak to the owner. Take documentation and pics.

If the above doesn't get results, the gloves come off. Leave negative reviews and post pics. Decide what if any further action to take.

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