This is a question about what to do in handling a problem with a contractor.
I'm in a quandary. Please excuse the length of this post. I've tried to
boil it down to essentials.
After several years of savings, my wife and I decided to have an lawn/garden
sprinkler system installed. We saved for some time and wanted it done
"right." I contacted several people and companies in the area for
recommendations. Every one of them recommended a particular local company
as doing the best job in the area.
I contacted this company and had them come out and give me a quote. (The
owner is the one who does this.) His initial quote was $2,500. We had 3
other companies come out and give quotes. Theirs ranged from $1500 to
$2,300. After deciding to go with the first company that was highly
recommended, I called the owner and specifically told him what we were
planning to do with our landscaping and asked him several questions. I also
told him that it was important for us to have "head to head" coverage. He
went back out to our property for a second visit and submitted a revised
quote for $2,900 to do this. I okayed this.
BTW, we have a 1/3rd acre plot of land (less driveway and house). We
painted our bed outlines and other things with landscape paint because of
our desire to get exactly what we needed.
On Monday a crew came to do the install. I took the day off of work and met
with the job supervisor and talked with him briefly about the install. We
went over a couple of elements--where the controller box should be installed
and the fact that several head (14) in the back yard would need to be
installed 2-3" above the current ground level since the area would be
heavily mulched. The crew worked all day Monday and from my layman's
perspective seemed to do a fine job.
The supervisor told me he expected to be done at the end of the day on
Tuesday. I did not stay home that day, but did come home around 4 p.m.
When I got home the crew was gone with the job apparently finished. Here is
what I noted:
*The controller box was not placed where it should have been. It was put on
a totally different wall in the garage. It's right where we planned to add
shelving the summer, so that plan will have to be scrapped. Not a big deal,
but a pain.
The spray heads that were to be placed 2-3" above grade were all placed at
ground level. This is approx. 16 heads.
Over the next 2 days, I monitored the sprinklers very carefully.
*There is 1 area in the yard that is getting no water at all. About 8
square feet is not hit with any heads. Perhaps this can be fixed by
adjusting the installed heads.
We do not have head to head coverage in most of the yard. There are
several areas that are hit by only one spray head or rotor. There are other
areas where heads overlap but do not provide head-to-head coverage. It
would seem that to fix this additional heads would need to be installed.
Since all the pipes have been laid and covered, I have no idea how that
would be done at this point.
I contacted the owner with the 1st set of problems as soon as I returned
home on Tuesday. Since then no one from the company other than a secretary
has returned any phone calls. I contacted them Thursday to let them know
about the 2nd set of problems.
Next week I will be unavailable most of the week and then it's very likely
that I'll be out of town for the next two weeks, so it will be hard for me
to seek resolution to this problem. An additional compounding factor is
that this weekend other work is being done in the area (laying metal edging,
mulching the beds) that will make it much harder for additional sprinkler
work to be done.
Here's a big advantage I have--I haven't paid for this system yet.
What should I do? I feel like I paid for a Cadillac system, but got a Ford.
I'm very disappointed. I think I was an ideal customer. I was prepared to
pay for the best system this company could install. I'm very disappointed
that they didn't come through.
Hypothetically if this were to go to court, I could see one problem from my
side. The estimate I agreed to specified an "approximate" (actual word on
the estimate) number of heads. They actually installed more than that.
But, at several points in our discussion I told the owner that I "wanted the
system done right" and was prepared to spend what that took. I told him I
was relying on his design expertise to make sure what was needed was
installed. If the quote had come in $500 higher, we would have still gone
with this company. I trusted their expertise to tell me the number of heads
that it would take. So, even though they filled the quantity number of the
estimate, they did not meet the overall goal.
What should I do at this point? Accept the system as is and negotiate a
price reduction? Insist on corrections (which I'm not sure how feasibly
that can be done)?
Help would be greatly appreciated. I want a successful resolution to this,
but most importantly, I want the irrigation system needed to do this job