Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Untrustworthy

I'm learning that I have some untrustworthy business partners.   I hired a painting crew to paint both the exterior and the interior of my old home.  I pressured the owner of the painting company to paint the exterior as soon as the weather cleared up, before signing a contract for the interior, because I wanted to witness his business practices first hand and see if he did a good job.  I was very satisfied with the paint job, and with the exception of his crew trapping us in our house overnight by covering the doors and windows with plastic, he did get the job done in a respectable amount of time without taking off to go do other jobs elsewhere.

So, I paid him for the exterior and signed a contract for his crew to do the interior after we moved all the furniture out.  I gave him the date the furniture would be gone, and stressed that the job needed to be done as soon as possible after that date since the house would be on the market and potential buyers would be viewing it.  Once the furniture was moved out, he said that he wouldn't be able to start for a couple of weeks, because he had other jobs lined up.  I was furious.  Had he told me that at the time I signed the contract, I would have hired a different painting company, but then again, he knew that, which is most likely why he didn't bring up the timing issue.

I had the flooring installers ready to go as soon as the furniture was moved out, but they refused to install the new floors until the interior was painted.  So, they had to wait three weeks until this painting crew was finished.  They were upset, because they were counting on getting paid by a certain time so that the owner of the flooring company could get his teeth fixed.

The painter promised he would finish by a specific day.  My real estate agent checked on the house that morning, and called me to inform me that no one was working and there were still several rooms that hadn't been painted.  I called the painter and chewed him out.  He got pissy with me and claimed that he only had a little bit left to do, but the store ran out of my paint color, so he was driving into California to another store to get more paint, and would have it done by that evening.  He said that my real estate agent was having a misunderstanding about which rooms we are painting.  He insisted that he was good for his word and I should just trust him. 

I relayed that message to my real estate agent, and he said there was no way this guy could finish by that evening.  There was just too much to still be painted.  I asked him to tell me which rooms still needed painting, and he told me that the family room was pink.  I said, "That makes no sense, because the family room was beige and is being painted off-white."

He said, "Then maybe it was the smallest bedroom.  I just know there was one room that was pink."

I said, "That still makes no sense, because the smallest bedroom was off-white and I was just freshening it up with another off-white.  Where would pink paint come into this?  The painter was painting only the rooms that hadn't been painted recently with the same color of off-white, and he knows that I hate the pink that the master bedroom used to be.  Is the master bedroom still pink?"

He said, "No, the master bedroom was painted, so it must have been the office or one of the bathrooms that was pink."

I said, "We're not painting the bathrooms."

The real estate agent sounded confused, so he lost all credibility with me, but at the same time I didn't really believe the painter either.  I figured it would work itself out.

The painter sent me an email saying that he was done with the job, that everything looked fantastic, and that he wanted to get paid.  So, I paid him.

Here we are nearly two weeks later, and the real estate agent emailed me to inform me that the painter had sealed a crack in our living room wall, but never painted it, so they are two different colors.  He had been showing the house to potential buyers, and they pointed it out to him.

I freaked out, because the whole reason why I wanted the interior painted was because of this huge crack we had in the living room wall.  I knew most home buyers would see that and think that the house was unstable if it settled that severely.  I had questioned the painter to see if he could make the crack go away or if I needed to hire a drywall professional.  He insisted that his work was as good as a drywall pros.  Now I find out that he never finished covering the crack despite me paying him weeks ago!

I contacted him about the problem, and he got embarrassed, claiming that he meant to return to the house and finish that part of the job, but forgot.  Oh, really?  Then why did he lie to me and tell me he was done?  He should have never asked for payment from me if he wasn't done with the job.  So, he said, "I'll get to it some time in the next week."

Really?  I'm losing potential buyers the whole time this painter is trying to fit me into his busy schedule.  My real estate agent has to put a different type of lock box at my house for the workers from the one for the real estate agents, so now he has to make another trip out to get that set up.  This is a huge inconvenience.  This isn't some casual oops.  But I think what infuriates me the most is that this guy intentionally took advantage of my absence.  His attitude was that he would just lie to me and tell me the job was done when it wasn't, and I would never know the difference because I was 760 miles away. 

I'm sure the flooring installers will flip out knowing that this guy is going to be painting over brand new floors.  He can lay down all the plastic he wants, but this is a prime situation for a wayward drip to screw everything up.  And why did my real estate agent not check on the house for two weeks after I told him that the painter had finished?  He obviously went to my house to pick up his lock box, but never bothered to go inside, and I was relying on him to coordinate all this work for me while I was out of state.  I obviously can't check on the painter's work, so it's a no brainer that he should have done so.  In retrospect, I should have asked either the painter or the real estate agent for pictures as proof that the job was done.

Oh yeah, and my real estate agent admitted one mistake.  That pink room he kept insisting existed was actually painted off-white, but the maroon shades were casting a glow when the sun was setting that made the walls look pink.  Oops.

It's a good thing that I cut his contract down to only three months from six.  He had better get hopping, because he's got less than two months to sell the house now.  I've let everyone know that I'm flying in this weekend to check their work, and if I discover any more issues, they'll be finding some unhappy customer reviews on the Internet under their business names.

5 comments:

Dreaming said...

It is, as you know, so difficult to deal with things from a distance. Good luck!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yeah, in these times it's pretty ridiculous when a real estate agent or contracted worker/business doesn't send you a photo of their work...or something they have questions about.
Annoying that the real estate agent can't even tell you which room he thought was pink. He should be writing this stuff down, if it's important and he wants to discuss it with you. That's just unprofessional.

I can see why you would want the flooring installers to wait until until the interior was painted, but it shouldn't matter to them if you didn't want to wait. Once they're done, and the job is done correctly, they should be cleared from any possible drips. And the painters these days are pretty good at covering every square inch of floor, furniture and anything that shouldn't be painted.
And it's pretty silly that the flooring guy is waiting on the money from your job to pay for his teeth to be fixed. That's really living paycheck to paycheck, and would make me worry that he didn't have business insurance, since he must not have an dental insurance.

And what a silly excuse that the painter gave you about running out of your paint color, and having to drive into the next state to buy more. lol!
Any paint store or Home Depot, Lowes, etc can match any paint color/chip. And I know you have hardware paint stores not all that far from your house in Nevada. Crazy stuff you have to deal with for sure.

Have to tell you a funny story about our previous house we sold, though.
We had paid the painters to paint the interior of our house, a beige/light tan color called Navajo White, after we moved into the house were in now. And they did paint our house....thoroughly: they painted the walls, the ceiling and all the baseboards the same darn color.
lol!

~Lisa

Ms Martyr said...

Unfortunately, this is extremely common, even if you aren't dealing with people from long distance. My friend had some remodeling done and the contractor never did make it back to install the molding. The only option seems to be withholding final payment until the job passes inspection by someone you trust.

When we moved to Alaska in '75 we ended up having to stay at a motel for a month because our house under construction wasn't completed as promised.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

That is so infuriating. If the work is not completed to your satisfaction and the painter doesn't come to fix it immediately, I would be calling the Better Business Bureau. They are supposed to contact the business owner and attempt to make them rectify their work. If they do not...the BBB will give them a bad review as well. :-/ Git 'em girl!!

achieve1dream said...

Wow people suck!!