Monday, July 26, 2010
Help Me Howard: Bad Floor
If you have ever hired someone to replace or repair something in your home, you know the fear: hoping they are good, honest and competent. But since we live in South Florida, we sometimes go zero-for-three in hiring contractors, which is why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- If you have ever bought a home, you probably remember that feeling.
Lori Ramirez: "This is my first home, yes, and I was very excited."
Lori had the same thoughts of so many other first-time home buyers: the satisfaction of owning a place, the thrill of deciding where to put everything, the big plans to make it perfect.
Lori Ramirez: "My floors was the most exciting part, because it was exotic. It was beautiful colors. I saw it in a magazine, and I was determined to get them."
Determined to get the high-quality exotic floors and careful to make sure she found a qualified installer.
Lori Ramirez: "And I found this company has been, I believe he's been doing business for quite some time, and he offered a great price, and he was very convincing. Seemed like a very nice guy, and I went ahead and went for it."
When the installation company laid the floors down, they looked good.
Lori Ramirez: "All I saw, pretty much, was my dream come true. My floor, it finally happened."
But before Lori could move in, her home became a house of horrors.
Lori Ramirez: "I start hearing really loud noises, like something was cracking, and when I look, I notice that my living room floor in the area was popping up, buckling."
Lori's floors were literally warping and buckling.
Lori Ramirez: "I couldn't believe this was happening. I was crying. I was pretty sad."
She called the installer, who did come over and blamed the problem on her house.
Lori Ramirez: "'Well, how do I correct it?' He goes, 'I don't know how to tell you how to fix it. You are going to have to find the problem. It's your house.'"
He then walked away, and Lori had to hire another company to determine exactly why the floors were buckling.
Lori Ramirez: "They found that it was the most obvious problem, that no moisture barrier was ever used in my project."
But on Lori's invoice, the installer had charged her for two moisture barriers.
Lori Ramirez: "Neither one was used. It's been frustrating. It's been stressful."
Lori's only option? Pay to tear up the floors and buy new ones, which she cannot afford. So Howard, what can a homeowner do?
Howard Finkelstein: "In this case, clearly the installer is at fault, and if they won't fix it, one option is to sue them. A better option is to try to get the distributor or manufacturer of the floors to replace the floors. But legally, they don't have to do it."
This one seemed impossible to solve, but we aren't smart enough to give up. After the installer hung up on us, we called Wheeler Floors in Orlando, the distribution company that sells the exotic hard wood floors. They confirmed it was the installer's fault. And even though Wheeler legally does not have to replace the exotic floors, they agreed to do it for free.
Lori Ramirez: "I am thrilled. At peace now to be able to finally have my home."
Lori's floors look as nice as she feels about them, and now she can finally move into her home.
Lori Ramirez: "Just doing some finishing touches now. Just changing some colors on the walls and moving my furniture back in."
Patrick Fraser: "Lori did it the right way: talked to the owner, checked out his company, proving even when you do everything right, you can still get taken. But it's less likely to happen than if you hire your yardman's cousin's brother-in-law 'cause he's a nice guy."
Floored by troubles tough even enough to buckle you under? Ready to construct a solution? Contact us. I would say we are not good with our hands, but you should watch Howard flip through a law book.