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contractors, what threats work to get them to fix things?

contractors, what threats work to get them to fix things?

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  #1  
Old 06-24-10, 05:23 PM
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contractors, what threats work to get them to fix things?

The general was known to a family i know but he didnt have small enough equipment so he hired an excavator he dealt with before. After the waterproofing job was done, it still leaked and i took pics and showed him. Many calls and months went by then into winter and i finally got ahold of the excavator and he said he'd be out in spring to dig things up and fix.

of course more than 6 calls later to him and 2 calls to the general, no results and it's been a year since they were here.

So what do you contractors actually view as legitimate threats and you'd come back to fix it?

1. legal action (expensive and long and i really dont want to go that way)

2. BBB

3. ads in the local paper detailing the facts of my case or maybe just an ad saying please call me, you havent fixed my problem from last year yet!

4. signs around his neighborhood (it's rural so not seen by many but would get the point across)

5. visit his house and ask why he wont return my calls and of course he'd tell me not to visit but maybe that would make the point before i was kicked off

6. say i will go to the paper and the tv stations, it's not very likely to actually get a story but you never know.

7. your idea?????

as you can tell i'm frustrated, is there some kind of statute of limitations that maybe they are trying to stall and get this past?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-24-10, 06:07 PM
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Forget the media & forget the BBB. The first thing is a compliant to the dept of consumer affairs. You were supposed to check with them before you hired the contractor.

Post his name on the net in forums like this. If you local town or county has a message board, post it there too.

My girl friend got a refund of $3,500 from a vacation scam company by doing that. It works.
 
  #3  
Old 06-24-10, 06:15 PM
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An arbitrator of sorts. It can be your lawyer, which implies legal action, but the contact can sound like a plea for a response. ie, just trying to make contact to set up an appointment for my client to get this problem taken care of. No direct threat of lawsuit or small claims. Any contractor can read between the lines when the letter is from an attorney. If the first one doesn't get a response immediately, repeat with a certified letter.

By NOT threatening him, you are keeping the heat down and have a better chance of actually getting him back to do the work. By using a lawyer, you are also creating a necessary paper trail so if and when you go to court, you will sound like the good guy.

Then there was little Louie, barely 5' tall but nerves of steel. We had the same contractor who was stalling everyone, except Louie. Louie took his Cadillac and refused to return it until his house was finished.

But Louie's approach and any slander of any sort will simply turn the tables where you end up being on the defensive.

When you have the high ground, hold onto it.

Bud
 
  #4  
Old 06-24-10, 06:56 PM
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I think tomorrow ill leave a message that he has a week to respond to me otherwise i elevate this. I'll leave that open as to what that means. Try to appeal to whatever decency is left there and say i want this to remain friendly. Also tell him i really want the problem fixed but i'll accept 1/2 my money back since 1/2 the house is still problematic. Basically anything to get him to reply!
 
  #5  
Old 06-24-10, 06:59 PM
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How much money are we talking here?

The letter from the lawyer is a good idea to get things rolling. I think you need to put a time limit on this. If he doesn't respond and repair by a specified date, that's when you move to the next step. For me, that would be to get another company in to fix it and then to sue him for that cost. Of course it depends on the money at stake. You can wind up in a limbo if it is more than small claims, but not enough to justify a lawyer in a higher court.
 
  #6  
Old 06-25-10, 04:59 AM
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the amount in question is over 11,000 dollars
 
  #7  
Old 06-25-10, 05:44 AM
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There is no decency left. That should be clear by now.
 
  #8  
Old 06-25-10, 01:57 PM
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Many local TV stations have a consumer advocate/ reporter who does stories exactly like yours. They put pressure on shady contractors, etc. to make things right. You might try calling around to find out. But I'd try the letter from a lawyer first.
 
  #9  
Old 07-02-10, 07:41 AM
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keep your fingers crossed, supposed to come for a consult monday AM
 
  #10  
Old 07-02-10, 10:11 AM
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I ask the same question every time and seldom get an answer. What does your contract say? Is it with the GC or the sub? Does it mention rework or resolution of disputes?

In any case the contract value may have been 11G at the time of performance but no way will you recover that amount. Look around for another contractor and get an estimate to fix the problem. Whatever that cost is could probably be recovered.

An attorney is your best bet, confrontation is not. Be prepared to eat this though. You might get a judgement but sleazy contractors weasel out of stuff like this all the time.
 
  #11  
Old 07-02-10, 11:34 AM
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Monday, July 5th? Well, maybe, busy contractors don't know what a hoilday is anyway.

Bud
 
  #12  
Old 07-02-10, 04:25 PM
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Those guys give people like me a bad name. 25+ yrs in business, I have never had a problem I could not resolve, and some cost me more than I made. But a good recommendation is worth more than one bad one.
 
  #13  
Old 07-03-10, 04:53 AM
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Ya, that's the thing - it takes a long time to build a good reputation but takes very little to get a bad one. I've never understood why any contractor would care so little about his reputation or take so little pride in his work.
 
  #14  
Old 07-03-10, 06:26 AM
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ripped

Plant some of those plants in his yard and call the cops. Problem solved. Sardines in his truck work good too. Also, buck lure injected into the rubber parts of his truck work great. But that just makes you the bad guy. I don't know how much money is involved here, but you might just want to write it off as an advertising expense on your next tax return, that is what I do.
 
  #15  
Old 07-06-10, 05:09 AM
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well he took a look at my pics and said he will be back within 2 weeks to manually dig up the rear corner of the house then when it's pouring come over and see where the water goes. He said he's never had a foundation leak after he's dug it and the only thing he could think of off the top of his head was that somehow the water is overwhelming the system and he may put in another yard drain or 2 out back. He had asked me if water was ponding in back of the house

but i really doubt thats the issue. it more seems like somehow it's getting thru the membrane...or around it. I doubt though that water goes down under it, over to the house then up to the foundation though. Maybe it just wasnt dug below the footing like we thought. it's just so perplexing.

here are the crawlspace pics from last year if you'd like to give suggestions on how to fix it. I never posted pics of the job from the outside so maybe i will do that sometime

http://forum.doityourself.com/baseme...e-how-fix.html

also note that the leaks to the left of the window (the one vertical crack between the blocks) is not where he dug up, it's under a breezeway pad and wasnt part of his job. That one will be up to me to fix. he recommended food dye outside the house to try to see where it's leaking in, use my hose and saturate the one low spot on the driveway
 
  #16  
Old 07-06-10, 05:52 AM
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When we sealed foundations, we had to watch for 2 things. One is that dirt didn't get behind the membrane when we back filled. That's as good as not having the membrane there at all.

Secondly, we dug below the footing & overlapped the membrane. In other words, there was enough membrane to extend below the footing & horizontally away from the structure. Then we threw a few inches of gravel before we back filled.

Either you have a high water table or he didn't pay enough attention to the area around the footing.
 
  #17  
Old 07-06-10, 06:57 AM
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well i dont know if dirt got behind the membrane but i do know that at the top of it, it appears water may be able to get behind it a bit. I'd take a pic but my digital cam is out for warranty repair. i just figured that as long as the dirt pushes it against the house it's ok but i always thought water was the strongest thing in the world and thought maybe it still gets behind all that dirt and stones. also the membrane does go down to the footer and out at least 2-3 feet from what i recall. but maybe he didnt really get below the footer, i am not sure. I cant believe they would do all that work and not do that though. they were very professional about things and even used some kind of laser thingie to ensure the slope was correct to ensure drainage.

however, on the other side of the house i can see the membrane in the same "condition" and i know that side is dry. But i do know more water comes in the back of the house, than the side, because i have a hill that is sloped towards the house So maybe it is overwhelming things.

id have to dig up old pics to be sure but from recollection the series of things went membrane/gravel/pvc pipe (drilled out at 4 and 8 oclock)/more gravel/yard drain pipe/gravel/rain spout drain pipe....but i may not have that right,it's been a year. The theory was that whatever made it to the bottom of the pit would fill up the lowest pipes from the bottom up and be carried away. he said the holes should be placed downward so as to prevent clogging.

If my understanding of a water table is correct, i dont have one. but i'm not sure. in the front of my house is a long stone wall holding back my yard, 6 ft high, then there's a gentle slope up to the house. in back of the house i have about a 8-10 ft level 'grass patio' but then i have a 3 ft block wall 'holding' up my yard (not really lol) and my yard has a decent grade up to the back property line. Bascially if you stand at my back door and look straight ahead to the back, the grade winds up at shoulder level. So i pretty much have about 1/8 acre of a hill draining right towards my house

if that qualifies for a high water table, i guess i have it then. i do know i have very hard clay; however, for their excavation they dug it all out and replaced it with fresh soil and of course tons of stones. It annoyed the heck out of me because they didnt compact it and i didnt know i wasnt supposed to walk on it so to this day i have 6 inch deep footprints from where i was standing to water the new lawn lol. and those footprints do fill up during storms. i dont know if that means anything or not.

one other thing, i know my one side gutter isnt big enough to handle the water on the one side as i see it overrunning during heavy rain. the one side of the roof is huge and i think it's about a 10 ft gutter for all that volume. but it's impossible to add more based on how the house is. However my thought was even during a hurricane all this new drainage should be able to handle this? And in that spot it's not even the worst part of the issue i'm having. the side with the leakiest crawlspace is actually a side with no gutters at all but since no water is directed off the roof that way, they arent necessary.

also on the other rear corner of the house i do have long gutters but that still overflows as well. however that side of the house in the crawlspace IS dry. So that side was successfully sealed.
 
  #18  
Old 07-06-10, 09:48 AM
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What you described is not a high water table but with a slope like that, alot of water is heading towards the house. Maybe some trench drains would help.
 
  #19  
Old 07-06-10, 11:09 AM
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but in theory isnt the bottom drilled out pipe sitting on gravel supposed get all that water? even if it is overwhelmed and totally full, i'm trying to picture how it would find its way to the footer.

i guess it would be something like if the water in the pipe is full and eventually water makes a 'wall' barrier so no more can travel over the 2-3 ft of the membrane to get to the pipe and drain...therefore it then goes under the membrane and up against the foundation where the tar does not hold it back?

i guess if the excavation wasnt done below the footer i'd have that issue. but i was always under the impression water really doesnt travel horizontally too well. However i guess in volume the yard could be 'pushing' it that way.

one important question: regardless of what he does, is it a true statement that the water will perform the same while this is all dug out and exposed or is it possible he can do all this work, have the crawlspace NOT leak, then put it all together and it leak again?
 
  #20  
Old 07-06-10, 01:49 PM
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If the hole is being opened again, you should be able to see if a mistake was made or where the water is entering. Fill the hole with a hose if you can't see anything.

The membrane should come down the wall, then horizontally along the top of the footing, then down the front of the footing & away from the footing along the dirt. It should look like a carpeted staircase. Then the gravel is thrown on top of the bottom most part.
 
  #21  
Old 08-11-10, 11:28 AM
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holes were dug and pics were taken, but now my computer died at home...will post pics as soon as i can. but taking a peek at the holes, i cannot see how water is leaking except between the top of the membrane and the wall. the bottom of the hole looks ok to me...pray for heavy rains during daylight hours so we can look down
 
  #22  
Old 09-21-10, 07:34 AM
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UPDATE:

it's been a while since he dug the holes but we had a drought so no way to see where water was getting in

so today i decide to empty out my spa for its winter water...put a hose at the yard drain and went away for a few hours..came back and there's water in both the holes he dug up! left him a VM but i have no clue what's wrong. I cannot see anything 'dripping' into the puddles at the bottom of the holes.

also i looked into the crawlspace and water definitely is getting in the rear of the house

however the side is dry, but i'm positive water came in there before per me crawling under there in one storm.

so now i wait to see what happens.

these pics were taken over a month ago after one mini storm, i dont have pics from today:











 
  #23  
Old 12-14-12, 05:47 AM
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i realized i forgot to finish up this story

he came back this summer and installed 3 new yard drain

then after admitting his guys sloped the bottom pipe way too much (water had to get over 6 inches high for it to be carried away in some places), he ran a 2nd parallel pipe correctly placed next to the existing pipe...so basically i have double the drainage now

they also went into the crawlspace and saw where water was still coming in and cemented it up a bit for me, but i havent been down there to see what they did

in 09 when they were here, they had run a pvc pipe through the foundation but never finished running the drain from the crawlspace..now they have a drain there so it's literally impossible for any water that does get in to create that 6 plus inches of water i used to have. so he spent an additional week or so on this project and i guess thats more that most other contractors would have done so i'm as happy as possible under the circumstances.

i hope he supervises his future jobs to avoid taking such a hit, he constantly complained how much this would cost him and the economy etc etc. but i kept hounding him until he came back and apparently thats all it took
 
  #24  
Old 12-15-12, 06:01 PM
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Thanks for the update! Glad you stuck to your guns and got it fixed - and the fix sounds like quality work.
 
  #25  
Old 12-15-12, 09:44 PM
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Thanks for the update as well.
He did come back, he admitted the problem once he found it, he did additional work, I assume it works well now, that's a contractor you can recommend to your friends.

He lost on this project, but he learned, and he added to a good reputation. A win all the way around. I'd send him a gift certificate for xmas to a fine restaurant for he and his better half.

Bud
 
  #26  
Old 12-16-12, 04:26 PM
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I just want to second something here:

He lost on this project, but he learned, and he added to a good reputation. A win all the way around. I'd send him a gift certificate for xmas to a fine restaurant for he and his better half.
 
  #27  
Old 12-17-12, 06:27 AM
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well he never came back and took the 2 piles of dirt he promised to so i think ill let his present be that i will stop hounding him about it....i did call him 2 times after and he never came and got them. maybe i can rent them out as dirt bike ramps

and he never reseeded nor properly put the dirt back up against the one drain..but since it's all sloped away from the house i can probably deal with it. most of the grass/weeds came back in and its relatively covered where he dug up. i'm NOT a yard guy so i dont care about a 100% pretty lawn but it's def worse than before lol.

i just need to find a place for some of that dirt and that will be back breaking for little ole me to move around.

i stopped looking down in the crawl because if it's not fixed theres nothign more i can do and it would upset me more.
 
  #28  
Old 12-17-12, 01:28 PM
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You might be able to find someone that wants the dirt and is willing to haul it off for free.
 
  #29  
Old 12-18-12, 08:42 AM
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unfortunately it's riddled with small boulders lol....i have very rocky land...but if i cant find a use ill do it..compounding the issue is that it's very difficult to get back there to get it. he has the small equipment and you need to bring it out scoop by scoop...tedious for 2 piles of dirt
 
  #30  
Old 12-18-12, 09:37 AM
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Watch for a construction project in your area where they have the equipment on site and a truck. While they are there it could be very inexpensive. My guys like a case of beer .

Bud
 
  #31  
Old 12-18-12, 01:45 PM
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I've never used one but they rent a walk behind machine that has a bucket smaller than a bobcat's. Might be something to check into.
 
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