Unhappy with a Company’s Work

My husband and I recently contracted a company to install new doors and windows in our sixty year old house. So far the experience has been less than stellar. For starters, the company accidentally ordered the wrong size windows, but only realized this after ripping the original windows out. They were able to temporarily screw the old windows back in place, but we were left with bare wood around the frames for over a month while the new ones were reordered and shipped.

The contractors who performed the work did not lay any sheets or paper down while performing their work. While I put out mats for them to wipe their feet upon entering our home many of them managed to drag a fair amount of mud and dirt onto the floors of our home. While much of our house is hardwood the rooms with carpet now contain quite a few black and brown stains from their carelessness.

Despite the fact that our home contains lead paint I saw little regard for the contamination of paint chips in and around our house. Large chunks of paint were found in the small box gardens outside of our sun room as well as on the brick steps and back patio. I witnessed the contractors throwing a fair amount of material directly on the ground. I was under the impression that all of this debris should have been placed on special material which should have been rolled up and properly discarded after their work was complete.

For safety reasons the windows in our basement were previously covered by steel bars. When we agreed to purchase the windows we were told the bars could remain, this was reiterated to us on more than one occasion when the company came out to measure. However, on the day of installation the bars were removed and the contractors informed us that there was no way to install the windows without first removing them. It will cost us a fair amount of money to replace these.

Lastly, the front door that was delivered and installed contains a mail slot that is less than 10 inches from the ground. According to postal service regulations a mail slot should be at least 31 inches off the ground, which means the post office can refuse to deliver mail to us until this issue is corrected. We cannot place another mail slot in the door for a multitude of reasons including that it might not be possible, because the door contains a fair amount of glass, and would look absolutely ridiculous with two mail slots on it. We cannot remove the original mail slot because it is in essence in a hole in the door.

I cannot believe that a door company would install a mail slot on a door that does not meet postal service regulations. If a mail slot could not have been located in a better place on the door then we should have been informed at the time of ordering. Had we known this was going to be an issue we could have ordered a different design. My husband and I go out of town quite frequently and we do not want to move to a system where we have to put our mail on hold every time we leave for an extended weekend.

While I am pleased with the finished product of most of the doors and windows in my home. I am befuddled by the number of issues we encountered and witnessed since this renovation began. I plan to ask the company for a discount on the overall cost of this order and installation.

But I was wondering if any of my amazing readers have encountered an issue like this before? If so what was the outcome of your situation? Do you think this is a lost cause?

6 thoughts on “Unhappy with a Company’s Work”

  1. I guess it depends what the Trade Practices Act in your area states. In Australia, what is signed for must be what is delivered and it must be able to do the job specified in the brief. If not, don't pay until satisfied with work/product. OR the supplier must supply replacement goods that do do the job. If there are further problems we have the Small Claims Tribunal or the Ombudsman to contact.

    I have received completely new paint/varnish to replace stuff I was sold that didn't do the job. AND I've had my front fence replaced 7 (yes, seven) times in one month, as I kept saying: this does not meet my original brief, I've not changed my brief, you need to fix it. (ie, rotten wood, wrong height, wrong style of palings, fence bending, gates too large and fixed in the wrong place).

    That being said, and regards to your door, the old adage: buyer beware. Unless there is a govt regulation stating about mail slots – there would be no need for a manufacturer to meet that need. Especially if you are buying from a reseller/importer.

    The issue about the bars on the windows should not be your fault. The contractor should stand by their original discussion and take all necessary steps to put the original bars back on. I hope you had this written in your brief or contract. Again, check the terms of your contract with them. There is usually a loophole for unforeseen problems that is in their favour.


  2. So far I've had contractor work that ranged from great to just ok. Each time, even the great one, was not what I was told. Always get every detail in writing. Most contractors hate doing that, but if they want your work they will. If they won't move on to another one. Always get three or more bids, check the BBB and just generally ask around. Check to see if they sub-contract their work, if you just ask, they will always say the guys work for them. If you can ask to meet with the guy who will be in charge on site when your job is done. Make sure he is the one that shows up and always be there, ask questions, and if they are not doing something you thought they would point it out. Be the customer they hate, not because your rude but because your nosy.

  3. I have encountered similar case but I immediately talked to the company and asked for credit or discount for the damages to my property. But I think you can still ask for discount.

  4. I would definately call the company back and ask to speak to someone (a manager type or something) and explain, in detail, what happened. Follow up with pictures.
    If this is legitimate business, they do not want any bad word of mouth, b/c their best advertisements are their happy customers.
    For the most part, the people that do the work know nothing of what may have been promised. I went through that last summer with my condo when they took my ceiling down. they cut a hole in the ceiling, the refused to do the rest where there was water damage. When they finished the first hole and repainted, it looked like garbage. I complained to my association and the contractor (owner) called me back and I told him that I was unhappy and wanted it done right. He was more then happy to get it done right b/c our condo association wanted to do more work with this people and he knew that's a big ticket item and didn't want me to complain so we'd get new contractors in to do other work. When they came back out to do the second hole (there WAS more water damage…idiots) and to redo the first one, work got stopped for well over a month b/c they didn't have permits and someone in my complex ratted them out to the borough. So they had to stop work immediately which left a huge hole in my ceiling and 2 by 4s holding up the ceiling b/c they had taken studs out (or whatever they were called). How does a large company like theirs NOT know they needed permits? AND we had the engineering firm for our assocation watching the work as well…NOBODY thought to get a permit? PLEASE! OH I hooted and hollered (my living room was inhabitable) and we no longer use this company.
    Granted, I didn't pay for it (the association did) so I didn't have much leg to stand on, but I let my opinion of these so called awesome contractors be known.
    HOWEVER, I must stay that the actual workers were VERY polite and ALWAYS cleaned up…even messes that were probably my own and not theirs, they cleaned it up, each and every day. And they always asked to use the bathroom. My mom was there a lot b/c I couldn't take that much time off work (if I did, I would have had to have taken about 3-4 weeks off work just for this!) but even she said, each time they had to go, they would ask. I'm a big germaphobe, so when I was home and htey went in to the bathroom, I scrubbed…but I kept telling them, if you have to go, go…you don't have to ask, but they insisted…so that was the ONLY nice part about it all.
    I wish you the best to get it all sorted out! Especially the door….what kind of company makes doors that aren't legit? Geesh!

  5. Sounds frustrating! Reminds me of when we were getting our house built. We didn't realize how cheap the builders were until after we moved in…4 years later and we're still encountering problems!

  6. I appreciate all of the comments and I'm so sorry to hear about all of your own problems with contractors.

    @spaghetti0625 and Vivienne – Your stories sound especially painful!

    I did contact the company and explain that I expect to see a good deal of money come off the total. The ball is in their court for now, so I'll just have to wait and see what they come back with.


Leave a Comment