Monday, November 05, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 41

The Time Mookie and Megan Hired Home Town Restyling 
(And It Was A Nightmare) Part II

Disclaimer:  The following story is 100% true.  I must say this because I don’t need someone coming out of the woodwork and suing me for defamation, slander, or libel.  Everything stated here is matter of fact, and indisputable.

If you missed Part I of this story, click HERE.

Let me start Part II by introducing the characters in this chapter:

Me:  Yours truly, Mookie.
"Megan(*)":  My hot wife.
Home Town Restyling (HTR):  The company we hired for various home improvements.
HTR Sales Guy:  The guy that sold us on the 3 jobs we have hired HTR to do.
Wayne:  The owner and president of Hometown Restyling.
Foreman Guy:  The guy responsible for the workers who did the 3 jobs.
Two Dudes:  The guys who did the original window/trim job on our house in Part I.
Ken and Lonny: The guys who did the window replacement/trim on our house after the 2011 storm.
Joe and Tony:  The guys who did the soffit/facia replacement.

During the early morning hours of July 14, 2011, a storm of major proportions did some significant damage to our home.  We lost a majority of the soffit and facia along the west side of our house, and the 3 large plate-glass windows on the front porch were completely blown out and shattered all over hell (these were windows we chose not to replace in 2007 as it is 3 season porch and we knew those big ass windows would be EXPENSIVE).  

Now, because we know Home Town Restyling has trim and material to match the wrapping on the rest of the house without painting it, we checked into them purely out of that convenience.  Plus we hoped the "new" windows would now match the ones we previously put on the house.  We call them up – and lucky us – we are talking to “HTR Sales Guy,” the same guy we dealt with back in 2007.   He came up and gave Megan an estimate on the new windows, and to (again) re-do the trim around the porch windows.  Unfortunately we are told that the company that made the windows we previously installed on the house was no longer in business, but the windows HTR is selling now are "just as good" and very similar to the other ones.  Megan flat out told “HTR Sales Guy” we were very hesitant about hiring HTR again to do this work, mainly because of the the difficulties and "issues" we had with the workers last time (the “Two Dudes”).  He told her that the "Two Dudes" didn’t work for Home Town anymore, and were relieved of their HTR employment not long after they finished our job in 2007.  This was some-what reassuring, especially since we had still heard good things about HTR.  In fact, my parents contracted HTR to replace all of their windows and thought they did a fabulous job.  So because we knew HTR could match all of our trim work perfectly, we ran all the information by our homeowners insurance people and decided to go that route.  

As they were quite busy with existing jobs (and probable other jobs due to this storm), the job wouldn't started until OCTOBER (The storm happened July 11th).  BUT because we know the trim they will be replacing will match 100% with what we currently had, and the windows would look pretty close to what was on the rest of the house -  we decided it was worth going 3 months with the front of our house boarded up like Hurricane Katrina had blown through.  Seriously, our house looked like a crack house with the front of it all boarded up.  

While we are at it, we also asked “HTR Sales Guy” if they could give us an estimate on re-doing the soffit and facia on the house that was damaged.  “HTR Sales Guy” basically said that he didn’t “handle that part” of the business and we’d need to talk to the "siding" part of the business.  Plus he said HTR didn't sell soffit in the design we had on our house, nor did they do "partial" jobs.  We would have to have the whole house re-soffited if we wanted HTR to do it.  So we decided to skip that part and work with our insurance guy as he was trying to help us find similar material for our soffits.

FINALLY,  we get a call that says "Ken and Lonny" will be up on October 3rd.  To their credit, "Ken and Lonny" actually showed up on the 3rd as they were promised, and -even better - they knocked the job out in the 2 days they said it would take.  At first it looked like they did a decent job, and we were ecstatic.  Mainly I think we were just happy we could see out the front of our house again instead of looking at plywood.  We did notice a few things that we weren't utterly happy about, but thought we would address that in the near future.

After a few days of what seemed like a successfully completed front porch window project, we also decided to get and estimate from Hometown to replace ALL the soffit and facia around the entire house.  As I previously said, we had been trying to find someone that could match the style of aluminum soffit, but we came up short everywhere.  This is no surprise because this is “our house” and nothing is ever easy with it.  Our insurance guy came up with something that was quite similar, but was still different from what we had.  Plus, because it was only made in white, it would need to be painted.  Our soffit was blue, and matched all the trim and facia.  It was beginning to sound like a lot of work, numerous contractors, and of course - lots of time - to just fix damaged sections.  We thought we'd get a quote to see how much the whole thing would cost, and match that up to the cost of just fixing what was broken.

I called Home Town and inquired about needing an estimate on soffit/facia.  They transferred me to some sales guy who started to give me the run-around and was being kind of dickish.  When I told him WHO I was and that we’d been their customer recently, he changed his tune and was all ready to help me.  I explained that “HTR Sales Guy” said we’d have to have someone else at HTR handle that job, and asked to speak to whoever I needed to.  Swear to God -  The guy goes “What?  HTR Sales Guy is the guy you need to talk to.  He bids all of the trim, siding, and soffit jobs."

So he transfers me to "HTR Sales Guy," and I get his voicemail.  I left a message about needing an estimate on the soffit/facia, hung up.  I was confused at this point.  I wasn't sure if he was blowing us off the first time or if he just misunderstood what we wanted.  Nevertheless, he eventually called me up and scheduled a time to come up for an estimate.

“HTR Sales Guy” showed up at the house one afternoon to size up everything, and shoots us a bid.  He tells me that this includes the entire soffit and facia trim clear around the house.  He also says the company that makes the facia is the same company that makes the soffits.  Therefore they can get the soffit in the same color.  This is awesome news.  The fact we can get it all in the same color - with no painting - was the clincher.  We wanted to avoid having to paint, because we'd have to paint the whole thing anyway to make it match.  We talked numbers with insurance and made our case as to the reason why this made more sense than just fixing the broken stuff and paying 3 different people.  Our insurance said we could go with HTR for the replacement of all the soffit, but they would only cover "half" of the cost, since only half the soffit/facia of it was damaged.  We discussed it, and decided that having HTR replace the whole thing with the color we wanted would be in our best interests.  So, we laid down a deposit and signed a contract for them to do the work.  "HTR Sales Guy" tells Megan that work will start in November around Thanksgiving.  We figure this isn't too bad, since it is the beginning of October.

In early November, the “HTR Sales Guy” calls Megan and says that they can’t get the soffit in the color we wanted.  He says that the company that makes all the materials “doesn’t do soffit in that color anymore.”  F.  I mean really......F.  We weren't sure what to do, as we went with them mainly for this sole reason.  We decided to forge ahead, and re-decide what color to do on the soffit.  We chose a tan color that some-what matched our siding, and hoped to God it didn't look stupid when it was done.  Megan stopped into HTR and signed a “revised” contract in early November that reflected the change in color of the soffit.  At that time she was told the work would start in early December, if not before that.

December comes and we hear nothing.  On December 21st I finally decided we’ve waited long enough, so I email “HTR Sales Guy” to inquire what in the F the deal is.  Twenty-four hours later I have still not heard anything from anyone at HTR.  So I picked up the phone and calmly called “HTR Sales Guy.”   He nervously tells me he was going to have to talk to “Wayne,” the owner of Home Town Restyling and see when they would be up.  That afternoon I get a one-line email from “HTR Sales Guy” that says verbatim: “No exact date, but will be started in January.” 

Bull. Shit.

On December 28th, I penned a lengthy email to “Wayne,” the owner of Home Town Restyling and voiced our disgust.    I stated the facts (as I have been telling in this story), how it had been 3 months since we signed the original contract, and how we had only been told what we couldn’t have (blue soffit), and how the never-definite job date keeps moving into the future (Nov. Dec. Jan.).  I stated that it was unacceptable, and wanted to know what he was going to do to rectify it.

To his credit, “Wayne” emailed me back that afternoon.  He said he would get some answers in the morning about what was going on, and regretted our “disappointment.”  The next day before lunch, I got another email from “Wayne” saying a crew would be at our house January 4th to drop off the work materials, and then get to work the next day.  He also went on to say that the situation was "upsetting" to him as well, and that “HTR Sales Guy” did a “terrible job of communicating the expectation of the work schedule.”  You’ve got that right Wayne.

January 4th rolls around, and I got another email from "Wayne" that said the HTR boys - "Joe and Tony"  would be up that afternoon to drop off the materials, and will start work the next day after that.  Oh, and he wished me a "Happy New Year" which I'm sure is nice if you are into that sort of thing.

Sure enough, "Joe and Tony" showed up that afternoon as promised and dropped off their tools and sized up everything.  I found "Joe" to be a super-nice guy, and he seemed quite skilled at what he and "Tony" were going to do.  Not only that, he was very honest about our situation up to that point, and said how "Home Town Sales Guy" pretty much screwed the pooch on this whole deal.  He said that when he dropped off tools the previous day, he noticed that all the trim they ordered was tan - not blue like it was supposed to be.  So somewhere between "HTR Sales Guy and the HTR office, they screwed up the order.  However "Joe" put the order in that day, and would have it in the next day before they started putting up trim.

Up until that point, we had an extremely mild winter and the temps were not ungodly cold.  Nor did we have much snow to contend with either.  Of course a few days after they started work, it SNOWED.    And it was COLD.  There were one or two days where they couldn't work because it was so cold, which was understandable.  I wouldn't have wanted to work in it either.

After about two weeks, "Joe and Tony" finished up and went on their way.

It was then that Megan and I looked at the work they did, and noticed some "imperfections."  Overall it wasn't "bad" (given our previous HTR experiences), but it wasn't great for what we paid for it.  This mainly consisted of some uneven seams, some corners we weren't pleased with, and a few places where the trim seemed to pucker and look wavy as it went down the house.

We also thought we would have them address the "imperfections" that we had previously noticed on the "front porch windows project," as well as the other issues that had shown up since then   While the windows were fine, the trim was not.  There were gaps showing, parts coming un-nailed, and trim was starting to pucker in a few places.  This was unacceptable, and I contacted Wayne again via email to make sure we got this stuff fixed.  In addition, we had questions regarding the "rebate" we were supposed to get from the utilities people on our front porch windows.  We were told we'd get $25 a window (we got 11 windows), but when the check came, it was only $125.

Wayne again promply emailed me back, and said he would send "Foreman Guy" up to look at the work, and see what could be done. In regards to my questions about the utility rebate, he told me that we (again) were misinformed.  Even though we did get 11 windows, since we put 3 windows each in the 3 spaces where there was only 1 big window (plus replaced 2 single windows), they would only give us credit for "openings."  It made sense, but it was also B.S. because "HTR Sales Guy" should have known this.  I hate that guy.

"Foreman Guy" showed up a few weeks later to look things over, and said he'd send "Joe and Tony" back up to our house to fix our concerns on the soffit/facia, and have "Ken" come up and fix the issues on the porch trim around the windows.

Did things get better?  Of course they didn't.  Check back soon for Part III of what will hopefully be the final saga with us and Home Town Restyling.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty and innocent.

Miss a previous episode of Monday Morning Stories with Mookie?  Click HERE.


  1. Stay tuned. :) Everytime I start working on it I get pissed over the deal and have to put it down. It should post in June.


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