Tips: Working with a contractor

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Some tips tonight from 12 On Your Side to help guide you the next time you hire a contractor. Coni Adams wishes she'd done things differently. She called 12 for help getting a contractor to come back to her home and correct some mistakes.

There are mistakes on both sides here. The one that got Coni in trouble -- she finished paying the contractor without inspecting her new granite kitchen counter tops.

"This is my retirement home. I wanted it to be good," said Coni Adams.

Coni got granite counter tops, for $2,000. A good price she says. She was happy. That's why she wrote the last one thousand dollar check, just as the company owner requested even though his workers hadn't quite finished.

"This is the piece I picked. This is entirely different. This has gold specs in it. That I don't like. It also does not match in the corner. There's a gap where the 2 pieces are suppose to meet. This backsplash is too short," said Coni. She added, "The stove goes like this, on each part of the backsplash, the back there's an inch of height difference."

Don't give in to pressure for final payment. If you find problems later, it can be difficult, getting the contractor to come back.

"I've called him 30 times," she said. "I have also written him a letter and I have contacted the Better Business Bureau."

Get a written contract that spells out job specifics before there's trouble, and should a problem arise, get the contractor's promises to correct them in writing too. Coni says "Dominion Granite Company", Midlothian sent her a letter. Owner Kevin Houghkirk agreed to corrections, but he failed to list everything they discussed.

"I'm still waiting. It's been 3 and a half months. He's just blowing me off. There's nothing more I can do," Coni said.

12 On Your Side got involved a few days ago. The company owner drew up a new letter of intent, which both parties have signed.

The company owner says Coni can pick out a new slab of granite, and he will redo the entire job. He said the warehouse sent him the wrong granite. He's using a different company this time. He also said medical problems caused the delay and he apologized for not informing Coni.

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