Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update on Winans Construction Saga

Well, update might be a little bit of an overstatement.....

Still have not heard back from them after many, many attempts at contacting them.

How could such a fancy-pants high end award winning business treat me this way?

To review, signed a contract with Winans Construction for $9k where they were supposed to design our top floor and kitchen and deck and provide us with permit-ready drawings. Half way through the process they realized that they weren't going to get the construction part of the job and basically stopped caring about it. They dropped off the supposedly finished set of permit ready plans and have been pestering me about the final $2500 due. I've shown the plans to 5 general contractors, two architects and one structural engineer who all agree that the plans are far from 'permit ready'. When I went back to Winans with these issues and proposed fixes they basically told me, 'We're the experts you are not we think the plans are fine as is pay us now!'

I spoke to our friend-neighbor-fellow house blogger Ayse from Casa Decrepit about the situation. She is unfortunately an expert in getting screwed around by contractors.

Her take was that they have decided that I will not sue them over the $9000 as its not enough money to bother hiring a lawyer for and all that. And ya know, she's right.

Its going to cost us ~$6k additionally to get someone else to finish their I guess I just gotta sit back and take it right?


I've left them very non-complimentary reviews on Angie's List, Yelp, and I'm trying to get onto the Berkeley Parents Network to leave a review for them there also.

Can anybody think of anyplace else I leave reviews that'll get read-be influential? They have a myspace and facebook pages but I don't belong and I don't really feel like signing up just to leave my review on their pages? But if other people wanted to leave notes on their pages saying something like, "Stop screwing around the Chez Neumansky folks" or something like that I wouldn't mind.

Several of the local TV stations have a 'on your side' segment. Maybe I'll try them next?

Ayse pointed out that they are a 'Diamond Certified' company.

I contacted the folks that do the 'Diamond Certifying' and they are going to attempt to mediate the dispute. Maybe they'll get someone at Winans to respond. If Winans Construction does not respond they'll get their Diamond Certification pulled which is probably the most I can hope for.

Well, at least now we have someone in our corner working to help solve this impasse.

I told the Diamond folks that I either wanted Winans to finish the contract or return all my money.

Is that fair ya think?


PerfessorEvil said...

Flagged the Yelp review "useful".

mark said...

Small claims court for the 3,500 difference???

The MadScientist said...

Thanks Rick thats a good idea flagging it useful. The other review isn't even by a person who had work done! They are talking about someone elses job!!
If I can just get these posts to show up higher on the google rankings they show up waaaaaaaaaay back on page 8 or something ridiculous.

The MadScientist said...

Ya I could do that but it would probably honestly be more trouble than its worth which is I'm sure what they are betting on...I want to use the web and social networking to shame them into doing the right thing! Plus I'm poor and the web stuff's free!

Gene said...

Hopefully the Diamond rating people will come through. If they don't, that suggests the rating isn't worth much. Permit-ready plans or your money back is eminently fair. You paid them for the plans, so either they deliver them or they refund your money.

Morrise Family said...

I posted a link to your February 8th post under the reviews tab on their Facebook page.

Mom said...

You might also report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Contractors State Licensing Board. Good luck.

Mark said...

$50 plus a wasted afternoon at worst. Best case scenario they don't show and default judgment goes to you.

The MadScientist said...

Is this the Mark I used to work with cause you sound familar?

Yes its true but even if I get a default judgement against them collecting on that is another matter unfortunately.

I looked into it a little bit and it seems to me that the reality is that if they want to be jerks about getting the money can be a huge PITA and take forever.

The MadScientist said...

Thankyou Morrise Family I appreciate the help.

Annie said...

I agree with contacting the Better Business Bureau and any official licensing board you can think of.

Small claims court might still be useful even if you don't collect, getting a judgment against them is still a mark against them. And they can't have a lawyer represent them, so they have to have someone from the firm stand up in front of a judge and try to justify why they're being jerks. I would do it just to shame them using all avenues available to me, or even to get a judgment that they will agree to finish the job.

The MadScientist said...

Thanks Annie I just filed an online complaint with the BBB. Hopefully between the BBB and the Diamond guys I'll get a response from them.