Hiring a contractor can be daunting business.
Even if you check references and find no complaints, you’re handing over thousands of dollars with an awful lot of hope.
Hope that you picked the right contractor and he or she will do right by the job.
So when Bruce and Sharon Tinkel needed some work done to their Edison home, they considered their options carefully.
“I selected Home Depot to do the work on my home because I saw the problems my neighbors were having with independent contractors and felt that [Home Depot] would be reliable and back their work,” Bruce Tinkel said. “So far, they are no better than the contractors I wanted to avoid.”
In the end, Home Depot agreed to fix all the problems, but not until Bamboozled got involved. More on that in a moment.
Tinkel signed four separate contracts with Home Depot’s South Plainfield store. The company would provide supplies and contractors for a new roof, 12 new windows, a sliding door, soffits and gutters for $20,696.55.
Tinkel said the items appeared to be installed correctly — from what his layman’s eye can tell — but there were other problems.
“Specifically, the window installers broke the window treatments in our living room and dining room,” he said. “They also broke quite a few of the shingles on our house.”
Installers also removed five sets of shutters that were supposed to remain on the home, he said.
Plus, Tinkel said, the installers left debris — pieces of plastic, wood and shingle — littered around the property.
The roof installation took place on Nov. 28, 2017, and some of the windows were installed on Dec. 27.
That same day, Tinkel said, he contacted Home Depot and spoke to a service manager, who came to the home two days later.
“He tried to down play the damage by saying that the broken window treatments were no big deal and that I should go out and get the replacement parts and fix it myself,” Tinkel said. “He also recommended against filing an insurance claim because I would only get a fraction of the cost to fix the treatments.”
The homeowner said no, so the manager said he would look online for the pieces that would be needed for the fix.
The manager also said he would replace the shutters and the broken siding, Tinkel said.
Tinkel said two weeks passed before he heard anything. Then the manager returned on Jan. 9 during the installation of the soffits.
The manager said he found the replacement pieces for the window treatments and would look into how they could be installed. That concerned Tinkel.
“Having someone who has no idea how to install or fix specifically sized window treatments is as reliable as my coming to your house to fix your plumbing,” he said. “He was just trying to get out of having to pay a professional installer.”
After the soffits were completed, the homeowner said, large pieces of debris were still on the property. He said after he called Home Depot several times, someone came for a cleanup, but they didn’t do a stellar job and many debris pieces remained.
On Jan. 22, the window installer came – unannounced – to put in the rest of the windows, the homeowner said.
That same day, Tinkel said, he left another message for the service manager, but no one returned his call.
The gutters were installed two days later.
Since that time, Tinkel said, he’s called Home Depot many times, leaving messages for the service manager and speaking to both the sales consultant and the sales manager. Still, no one has gotten back to him about correcting the problems.
He also left a complaint via the Home Depot website — which promises to answer messages in 24 to 48 hours — but that wasn’t answered either, he said.
“Home Depot has obviously been unwilling to fix the problems caused by their installers,” Tinkel said. “I think that they feel that if they do nothing long enough, I will get disgusted and do the repairs myself.”
In the meantime, Tinkel said, the front of his home “looks horrible, worse than before they came.”
There are broken pieces of siding hanging down and big spots where the paint doesn’t match where the shutters used to hang.
Tinkel believes Home Depot should replace the broken siding pieces, replace the shutters, check the soffits for defects, fix a small part of roof that has since become loose, get a certified window treatment installer to correct the broken window treatments and clean up the debris left on his lawn.
GETTING THE FIX
We asked Home Depot to take a look at the complaints.
A spokesman responded quickly. By the end of the day, a rep reached out to Tinkel to schedule a site visit.
Tinkel said an installation services manager, who said he got a call from corporate about the issue, came the next day.
“He was apologetic about the situation,” Tinkel said. “He said that there was no reason for the repairs to take such a long time to complete.”
Tinkel said he showed the broken items to the manager, who agreed to repair it all.
“[He] said that he will try to fix the broken siding and replace the shutters next week,” Tinkel said. “He also said that he’ll contact the blind specialists who work in the store and ask them to look into fixing the window treatments.”
Home Depot confirmed that it would correct the problems.
“We had a situation where we should have been moving quicker, but the good news is it’s been escalated and it’s moving forward,” said Home Depot spokesman Matthew Harrigan. “The damage shouldn’t have sat there.”
Harrigan said some of the damaged items were older, therefore they were “more delicate.” Still, he said, “it doesn’t mean we should have left it there.”
“It’s not the customer experience we hope to provide and we appreciate the opportunity to make it right,” Harrigan said.
We’re glad Home Depot is promising to come through for this customer.
Crews should be on site this week to get the job done.
“Hopefully he’ll be good to his words,” Tinkel said. “I’m still skeptical. I’m from the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ school.”
We’ll let you know what happens.