Hell Hath No Fury Like a Homeowner Scorned


When something starts to go south in a remodeling project, there can be a cascading effect. Rather than overlooking various imperfections in a company’s operations, irked homeowner begin to compile the long list of infractions they will intone over and over again, to whomever will sit still long enough for the we’ve-been-wronged recital.

I’m not making light of bad remodeling experiences. Could anything be more awful? Could anything be more traumatic? I wouldn’t wish a bad experience on anyone. It’s good to remember, though, that heightened emotions can exacerbate even the slightest infraction.

I got to thinking about all this as I was perusing the always fascinating website called Rip-Off Report, where consumers can complain about businesses (including and especially builders and contractors) and the businesses can then defend themselves.

In one posting, a person named Lauren listed a looooong series of wrongs done to her by a company. These wrong included:

1. We were pressured into using this contractor under false pretenses, including that the job would be done more quickly than other contractors could do it if he were hired. When the job got close to being finished, he conveniently ’forgot’ all of the promises that he made before we signed the contract.

2. Was told before signing contract that payment arrangements would be made to pay out the amount do ‘if any.’ Before the job was finished, he demanded payment in full in an amount more than what we had previously agreed upon.

3. Took the contractor more than 5 months to perform a small job when we were originally led to believe it would take 2 at the most, and the job is still not complete.

(Read all 21 complaints)

I’ve made lists like this, either on paper or in my head, and they’re very cathartic.

You can see a few things wrong with this list, though, beginning with the first item. She says she was “pressured” into using the contractor. What does that mean? Pressured by whom? The salesman? And then she says the contractor made promises that he later forgot. Here’s the big news, people: If it’s not in the contract, it’s not a promise.

After all this listing and unhappiness by the homeowner Lauren, the contractor came onto Rip-Off Report and made a two-word rebuttal:

“Who’s Lauren????”

I bring this site to your attention because when you read things that went wrong with other projects, you can take steps to make sure they don’t go wrong with yours. Don’t just focus on the scorned homeowner. Try to puzzle out how their problems — like promises made that are not included in the contract — do not become your problems. In other words, learn from other’s mistakes.

And when you do come across a Rip-Off Report on a company, and there is no rebuttal, beware!

After all, you don’t want to end up with a sob story. You want to end up with a successful remodel.