I know this is the bob villa group and all... not the complaint group
but i could sure use some of bob villas help right about now. If
anyone posting here can take a look at my friends pictures: (click on
photos once you get to the site)
and give me their "professional opinion" on the drywall... the
hardwood floors... the doorjams/stain I would be deeply grateful (and
would also travel to a website and try and help you if i can). Huge
mistakes have been made (you can only see the "cosmetic" ones from the
photos) and we need as many opinions as we can get. Please post any
comments to the guestbook?
Thanks in advance,
On Jul 12, 3:19 pm, email@example.com wrote:
No thanks. I clicked on the first link to see the pictures, and agree
the stuff doesn't look very good, but your behavior is nothing more
than retaliation done in a childish way.
I would imagine that you will have another law suit on your hands with
you as defendant. The lawyers are the only ones that win when people
approach problems in this manner. Any judge seeing your nonsense will
view you as a PIA and take that into account. That's kind of a shame
because the pictures would lead one to believe that you were in the
right. You are not helping yourself.
An adult that is old enough to enter into a contract should know there
are right and wrong ways to behave.
I'm disappointed that you chose the latter.
If this was my home, I'd be heartbroken. These builders are not only
unskilled, they simply don't care about the quality of their work.
They get the cheapest material, hammer, paint and run. As for
lawsuits against you, the homeowner, I suspect the letter from R was
written by a builder of some sort who gets many complaints, maybe some
legit, probably lots not, and he's fed up with everyone. I think your
complaints are well founded, but you're probably on your own repairing
things. Good Luck!
On Jul 12, 5:09 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
As would I.
A lot of people would call you an asshole for making a comment like
that, but I'll give you the respect and refrain from doing that. The
OP asked for professional opinions. I am a professional and I gave
him my opinion. He even thanked me in advance.
The OP is attempting to "get even" with the builder through some
childish retaliation. Printing bumper stickers bashing the builder is
not an appropriate way for adults to behave. He's one of those idiots
that puts a first amendment "warning" on the web site in the
ridiculous belief that that entitles him to say anything at all. It
You are right about one thing. I'm fed up - fed up with people acting
like children. I expect adults to act like adults and don't put up
with whining from kids or adults.
I think the OP's issues with the construction are probably valid, but
his way of dealing with the problem isn't.
On Jul 12, 1:19 pm, email@example.com wrote:
You look like an ambulance chaser. Wanting to sue everyone that has
done you wrong. Be real careful, you have not demonstrated that this
company did the work described in the photo's. I look forward to
reading the AP report on this lawsuit
Extremely poor craftsmanship. The drywall can be fixed by removing the tape
and redoing it. The floor and door are not structural problems. OTOH, the
concrete work might be. I would expect those cracks to leak like crazy and
possible to break through (second foundation photo).
Didn't you do an inspection before taking final possession on it? Didn't
you check on the progress as it was going on? Yes, the builder did a lousy
job, but so did you for taking possession instead of dealing with the
R...when my house was built there were lots of nasty little hidden
things that the builder did to save money that didn't crop up until
later...a stair rail screwed right into the drywall instead of the
studs, no support under the acrylic tub so it cracked a few years
later, shoddy plumbing. Builders and their crews shouldn't have to be
watched as if they're sneaky children...they should be professional
adults who do their job as if their own family will be living with the
work. Many consumers do end up acting like children, but they feel
powerless when a contractor and his crew have no pride in what they
do, know full well they're doing something wrong when they do it, take
the money for work they didn't perform well and don't care about the
On Jul 13, 9:56 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I'm sorry to hear it. There's no excuse for bad work. None.
The dollars and potential damage/injury are great in larger
construction projects. Even small projects - installing a handrail
for example - can have dire consequences. Unless you have loads of
construction experience and legal training, it's almost impossible to
protect your own interests. You have to rely on other people to do
that for you. Someone's uncle who worked a few summers in
construction back in his college days is probably not the person they
need. Some people use the architect as their protection to help keep
the contractor in line, others try to use lawyers or hire a
construction manager. This is more or less the standard way it's
done, and it has its advantages, but it also often builds into the
project an adversarial relationship. That rarely helps matters.
Another way of protecting your interests is to realize that the number
one most sought after trait in a contractor is the ability to do what
he said, for how much he said, and when he said it would be done.
Regardless of any other positive or negative aspect of the
contractor's business, that is the most important thing. People that
can do that can charge more than those who can't. They don't have to
advertise as much as those who can't do it. They're harder to find,
have longer waiting lists, and are in much greater demand. It's tough
to balance a person's "I want this, for this much, and I want it now"
with the contractor's "I can give you any two of fast, cheap or good.
I can't give you all three." Obviously it's not as easy as saying
never hire the lowest bidder, or that the highest bidder is always a
You have to do your homework on the contractor beforehand, and it has
to be thorough. Visit job sites and previous jobs - not just the
recent ones. See how the contractor handles the job site. If the
place is a mess, cigarette butts and lunch debris strewn around,
lumber in heaps instead of in neat piles and up on blocking, you
should be concerned. A good contractor treats your home as his and
won't allow subcontractors and workers to muck it up.
There must be a tight set of contract documents. If you architect
doesn't know how to tie up all of the loose ends, you'll just end up
paying through the nose for them in the end. An architect is not a
lawyer. Architects love to use AIA contracts because that's what
they've always used and because they protect the architect more than
anyone else. You need a lawyer or construction expert familiar with
your state's laws to make changes to any contract that is presented to
you to cover your interests. If your lawyer goes overboard and makes
a contract that is so one-sided that it's tantamount to the contractor
slitting his own throat, you can expect the contractor to walk away.
It's always a two-way street.
It's a business for the contractor, and it should be approached that
way. That doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable. Any construction
is unsettling for an owner, fraught with risk, with remodeling while
living in the house particularly upsetting. As in any close
relationship, both parties need to show respect and consideration for
I commiserate with people that find themselves in such situations.
We've all been there at one time or another. You feel like you're
being held hostage and paying for the privilege. Of course it's not
limited to contractors. I've had that feeling with computer
companies, trucking companies, a whole host of companies in fact.
Having that feeling invade your home is never a good thing. It's also
never a good thing to start acting like a kid, and stomping around
yelling. That doesn't solve anything and frequently exacerbates the
situation. You've got to keep your eye on the ball and take your ego
out of the equation. You must figure out the desired result, and
pursue that end as calmly as possible. That's how adults act and
people respond well to that.
I had a contractor do similarly bad work; only he also substituted cheaper
windows than the contract called for, charged extra when he found he
couldn't cut corners as hoped, decided the plans were silly for requiring
I sued him and recovered about a quarter of the damages; barely enough to
cover the legal fees.
The judge stated that I should not have expected a contractor to do work
The website might be the better approach.
Are you saying that abusing someone on the internet is a way to get
them to cooperate? That can't be right. Are you saying that abusing
someone on the internet and bashing them with bumper stickers is a way
to get them to want to fix stuff on your house? That can't be right
either. What are you saying?
As far as your own experiences, you learned an expensive lesson. I
had the luxury of working for others as a construction manager in the
early part of my career so my learning wasn't on my dime and I had big
time experience show me the ropes.
I have a clause in my contract that states that the prevailing party
gets court costs and legal fees. The clients' lawyers _love_ that
clause - they figure if I mess up I'm toast. I _love_ that clause
because I don't mess up. Keeps everyone honest. I have lots of other
clauses that protect my interests.
I'm not sure who was responsible for supervising your project, but as
soon as the cheaper windows were delivered to the site they should
have been rejected. The other nonsense was just nonsense, obviously,
and your contractor apparently felt he could do what he liked.
Effective supervision would have eliminated that concept from your
builder's mind. Then the builder would have had the choice to walk
away and get spanked, or stick around and live up to the contract. In
tough situations it may be better to negotiate a settlement so both
parties can part ways more or less amicably - you _definitely_ don't
want a hostile contractor working on your house under duress.
Oh, and as I'm sure you are aware, the judge you mentioned was an
idiot. Judges are not immune from accountability. You should have
filed complaints with the bar association, your congressman, Channel
12 news, etc. NY has this: http://www.scjc.state.ny.us /
The OP is also an idiot. There are really only two flavors. The
first is the type that invests huge amounts of time and effort in
something that doesn't pay to anything else but their ego. It won't
make them whole. Once the project hits the skids you're in damage
control territory. First rule of damage control is to limit the
damage and stop it from growing. Investing time in a losing endeavour
doesn't help. Feeding on the anger and outrage doesn't help. Those
things end up making you and yours miserable. Life's too short for
The second flavor of idiot - and I'm half convinced that the OP is
this type - starts as the first but has a marketing angle. Printing
up bumper stickers, starting up numerous web sites (why would you need
more than one?), etc., points towards someone who with only a little
bit of a push would turn into a spammer. I'm willing to bet dollars
to donuts that the OP starts spamming these newsgroups with his hate
sites and will make money off of Google AdSense, click-throughs or
something like that.
Well, probably not, but legal action didn't seem to work.
To be sure! I actually won, so I would have gotten legal fees.
I complained about every problem as they occurred. After I complained about
a dozen or so items, and the contractor just ignored me, my lawyer advised
me to stop protesting it and just document everything. His reasoning was
that the house was torn open (this was an addition) winter was coming and we
had a newborn. If the contractor got angry enough to refuse to finish, he
could put a lien on that would prevent me from doing anything for a year or
two. I might ultimately win, but it would be a disasterous win.
That turned out to be bad advice; the judge thought I had an obligation to
object more. Of course, the lawyer might have been right; the alternative
was pretty bad also.
He actually fell asleep at one point. My lawyer thought any action would be
On that he was right. 15 years later I had a case that was literally 250
times larger than the house suit go to appeals court; my future kinda
depended on it. Guess who one of the judges on the appeals court was. This
time he ruled for me. It doesn't pay to make enemies.
That's because the OP is trying to correct his mistakes legally, after
the fact, when he should have corrected them contractually and
logistically before work was started. I'm not talking about the
contractor's mistakes, I'm talking about the OP's mistakes.
I think that we should hold an immediate grassroots peoples'
referendum and insist that _all_ contracts and _all_ lawsuits
automatically include "prevailing party gets legal fees and court
costs". It would free up about 60% of the court's time, people would
act line grown ups and learn to seek to agree, and there wouldn't be
so many of these newsgroup retaliation posts. Only one problem -
every lawyer in the country would fight it tooth and nail, and a large
proportion of politicians are lawyers so there'd be no help there.
Your lawyer had it ass backwards. You probably signed the
contractor's contract, right? Did you have your lawyer review it? I
don't know if that would have made a difference with what you're
saying about your lawyers attitude, but if your lawyer had written up
the contract and protected your ass-ets, you'd have been able to fire
the guy for breach of contract, would have had the contractor sign
lien waivers as the work progressed, and would have had all of the
court costs, legal fees and lien indemnification included in the
Putting a lien on the house does not prevent you from having someone
else complete the work. It messes up your finances a bit and it can
get messy, but no one would expect you to live in a holey shack
because a contractor cut corners and didn't want to live up to the
Although that sounds like a nice idea on the surface, It's oversimplistic.
Consider the scenario of an average Joe who has a reasonable claim against a
corporate giant (or anybody with deep pockets). No one would ever sue
someone with the capacity to purchase a huge team of high-powered attorneys,
because the possibility of a loss would devastating.
Court costs? Sure. Maybe provide judges with some latitude to impose
punitive damages for frivolous claims
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Maybe we should get the lawyers involved in drafting it up so it will
lose its simplicity. ;)
It would eliminate the "well, I almost have a case" lawsuits which
shouldn't be in court in the first place. But, you're right, there
should be efforts to minimize lawyers milking cases and their
ridiculous billing hours. How this transition would happen, I don't
know - it's like asking the fox guarding the hen house how to get rid
of the fox problem.
Why should the suit have to be frivolous to get court costs?
You are right about that also. I didn't go to a lawyer until things started
to ball up; my architect said the contract was reasonably standard and
I thought the fact that he violated his own contract would be important, but
it didn't matter to the judge.
I don't know (or want to know, at this point) the fine points of contractor
law, but my lawyer was a partner at a major firm and I followed his advice.
Of course, it is only the judge's opinion that matters.
Can't know (and like your interest in the law itself, don't really care
:) ) all the pertinent details, but the problem is undoubtedly in the
details that aren't detailed here.
And, unfortunately, unless this was a very expensive suit, a partner in
a larger firm was probably not the best choice for representation -- you
were likely "too small a fish in too big a pond" to get anything more
than a few minutes of attention once in a while when something forced
him to act. An individual in a smaller firm or in his own practice
might have been a better choice. Judges come in all flavors,
too--unlike Lake Woebegone children, not all can be above average. That
aside, the problem in such instances for the claimant is normally that
the law is very specific in what it takes to prove a claim and what may
seem "right" may not be sufficient to require a judgment against the
defendant. And, of course, the remedies allowable may not seem to be
anywhere up to what one might like.
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