What do you think about a contractor who refuses to give you references
until you sign the contract? I had the "Affordable Co." come out to
give me a bid on replacement windows, and while she talked for about a
half hour on how great they are, when asked if we could get some
referrals and go look at their work, she refused saying that it's
against their policy, and it's to protect their customers privacy, BUT
if we sign the contract and become one of the "Affordable Co" family,
they will provide us with referrals, we have 3 days to cancel. We said
no thank you.
On 11 Sep 2006 11:33:24 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
:What do you think about a contractor who refuses to give you references
:until you sign the contract? I had the "Affordable Co." come out to
:give me a bid on replacement windows, and while she talked for about a
:half hour on how great they are, when asked if we could get some
:referrals and go look at their work, she refused saying that it's
:against their policy, and it's to protect their customers privacy, BUT
:if we sign the contract and become one of the "Affordable Co" family,
:they will provide us with referrals, we have 3 days to cancel. We said
:no thank you.
I think you did the right thing. I know a woman who owns a window
replacement company, and I discussed the whole thing with references. I
told her that the company I was thinking of having do my roof wasn't
giving me adequate references. They only provided me with any after I
needled them a few times. The references they gave me weren't
particularly current, and the ones I checked out didn't have the same
kind of roof. Also, they wouldn't give me phone numbers, only addresses
and just a handful. So, they were next to useless.
My friend told me she didn't like to give references, herself, and I can
understand why. Customers generally probably don't want to be bothered
with inquiries from a previously used contractor's prospective
customers. However, it's considered essential for you, the shopping
customer, so you are right to insist on it. You could get severely
burned if you don't.
I went ahead and used that roofing contractor because my back was
against the wall last fall with rains bearing down on me and I think it
probably turned out OK. I had reasons to think they would, but I must
say I would not have used that company knowing what I do now. I had to
hound them for a month before they fixed all the bad work they did.
Fortunately, they hadn't yet gotten their money!
Oh nonsense... this is just laziness. Last contractor I hired (siding)
came right out and offered his list of references. He had a spreadsheet
with 100+ names, addresses, phone numbers, project descriptions, etc.
We got to see and talk with people who had nearly the exact siding we
wanted. When they finished the job (a good job too), they simply had a
little postcard with a "Yes/No -- it is okay for us to put your
information on our referral list" that we included with our last
payment. Sure, we liked the contractor, they did a great job, very
professional. Why wouldnt we be a referral for them?
:> My friend told me she didn't like to give references, herself, and I can:> understand why. Customers generally probably don't want to be bothered:> with inquiries from a previously used contractor's prospective:> customers.
:Oh nonsense... this is just laziness. Last contractor I hired (siding)
:came right out and offered his list of references. He had a spreadsheet
:with 100+ names, addresses, phone numbers, project descriptions, etc.
:We got to see and talk with people who had nearly the exact siding we
:wanted. When they finished the job (a good job too), they simply had a
:little postcard with a "Yes/No -- it is okay for us to put your
:information on our referral list" that we included with our last
:payment. Sure, we liked the contractor, they did a great job, very
:professional. Why wouldnt we be a referral for them?
I agree with you 100%. I've gotten some bids on my foundation and right
now the low bid is from a guy who didn't provide me references, however
her was refered by a local GC who evidently is quite reputable and
experienced. He told me this guy could save me a lot of money. I got one
bid from a guy who gave me so many references it was incredible. I think
it was something like 14 type written pages of references! If a
contractor is truly great he should be able to provide lots of great
references without trying.
PS The company that did my roof told me they'd send me a questionaire
after the job which asked me if I would want to be used as a reference.
However, they never did. Probably because I had to tussle with them
bigtime to get them to fix the problems before I paid them.
The company that put replacement windows in our house advertises
in the weekly shopper and lists "neighbors" and "neighbors" addresses
who have done business with them. "Neighbors" in our town and in
neighboring towns. We did business with them and about 4 months later,
our name and address was on the list in the weekly shopper.
A contractor that won't give references is almost certainly hiding
I've been on bth sides of this situation - as a customer and as a
contractor. As a customer, I refuse to deal with a contractor that will not
provide current (within the last year) references for jobs similar to the
one I'm having done.
As a contractor (I build custom furniture), every customer I have has been
asked if they are willing to be a reference. If they say no, I don't use
them. If they say yes, they go on a list tht I provide to any potential (or
current) customer that requests it. For new customers, I always let them
know that I have refences if they want them. I provide a phone number, the
name of the customer, and (if the reference agreed) a picture of the piece I
made for them.
Of course, most contractors will not put a known bad reference on their
references list, so keep that in mind when you are talking to the
Contractor can't just hand out list of customers, but some furnish
"canned" references. I consider references pretty worthless unless I
know the party and have seen the work that was done. After seeing
quality work, then the reference "fills in the blanks" about how the
work proceeded and conduct of the contractor.
Affordable's policy sounds goofy, and goofy contractors should be avoided.
Hmmm, how convenient. No matter how you slice that, it doesn't really add
up. One of 2 things.
1) It's a well meaning policy that doesn't quite work
2) They're scamming you
I can understand trying to protect customer's privacy, but then why give out
their name after you sign a contract? How does that protect their privacy?
You think the customers give a damn that you're "part of the family"?
Either their privacy is important or it isn't.
On Wed, 13 Sep 2006 01:20:17 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm,
Has anyone else here noticed that companies who choose catchy titles
like "Affordable", "Accurate", "Budget", "Complete" and such NEVER
live up to their titles? <sigh>
In my book, anyone who won't give a reference when asked should NOT be
dealt with. I no longer deal with anyone who puts a fish symbol on
their card, either. Of the 5 or 6 folks who have cheated me in my 15
years in business, 4 of them were self-professed Christians sporting
fishes on their paperwork. Too many scammers out there will take
advantage of folks under that very pretense.
"Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free
than Christianity has made them good." --H. L. Mencken
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