Added by Reviewer1962927
Failure to refund deposit after breech of contract as per agreement.I contracted with Greyhouse to provide renovation work at my house. They failed to obtain building permits as required by building code prior to starting work. A number of different excuses were provided however I did not feel comfortable with them continuing as I believe their omission was an attempt to defraud me. They were in breach of contract and I choose to fire them. A verbal agreement was made that they could keep the amount paid to them if the work they had completed (all structural) was up to building code. If it was not I would be entitled to a refund of all amounts paid. An building inspector evaluated their work and found a number of deficiencies. This information was submitted to them and multiple emails have not been returned regarding the promised refund.Desired SettlementA refund of deposit payed to Greyhouse per verbal agreement made related to their breech of contract.Business Response /[redacted]/We dispute that there was any breech of contract in this instance, and there was certainly not an "attempt to defraud" as we are being accused. Building permits were specifically included as part of the contract signed with this customer - as they are in ALL of our contracts for projects in which the specific parameters / scope of work requires them - and were obtained as part of the project. We are able to provide documentation showing this for this specific project, and can also provide historical data & documentation illustrating our long-standing history of obtaining all required permits for projects we work on. As for the specifics of this situation, this individual elected to "fire" us based solely on her opinion of the situation, which she elected not to change even when provided with contradicting evidence. Upon realizing we were at an apparent impasse, we agreed, as a sign of good faith & as an attempt to satisfy her as our customer, to walk away from the project "as is". This meant we would not complete the scope of work as contracted & would not bill her for the outstanding balance on already completed work or any additional payments as previously outlined in the contract. There was a small (less than $90010% of the full contract) non-refundable down payment that was paid with the execution of the contract. This was the only payment received from the customer despite the contract calling for another 40% payment due at the start of work (which was not paid). By agreeing to walk away from the project (as it stood), we assumed a direct out-of-pocket loss of several thousand dollars for labor costs incurred & materials purchased. This agreement was reached with the understanding that this would be a satisfactory resolution. At the time of the agreement the homeowner informed us that she would be hiring another contractor to finish the work, and that if the framing we installed did not pass the formal framing inspection, she would be asking for her initial deposit back. At that time we had completed one (1) day of framing on a project that was scheduled to last 2-3 weeks, and the framing was not completed to the point of an inspection being called (or we would have scheduled it ourselves at that point). We obtained the list of items noted by the inspector as reasons the inspection would not pass, and all were items that still needed to be completed and / or added. Nowhere was it noted in the inspection report that what we had already provided or installed needed to be removed, replaced, repaired, or redone. The full scope of work had simply not been completed (as would be expected with any job that was halted in the middle of construction). We cannot be held accountable for a project not passing an inspection when the full pre-inspection scope of work had not been completed at the time we were asked by the homeowner to halt progress. We stand firmly behind all work that we complete (including a formal written warranty to all customers at the completion of their projects) and this project is no different. This project would have certainly & absolutely passed ALL areas of inspection should we have been afforded the opportunity to complete it, but as we weren't given that chance we cannot be held accountable for incomplete items as such. We find it unfortunate that the significant out-of-pocket financial loss - that we already agreed to incur as a sign of good faith & resolution - was not sufficient for this individual's satisfaction. However, the work we performed was not lacking in any way - it was merely incomplete as per her specific request that we cease progress.Consumer Response /[redacted]/I disagree with the response from Greyhouse. By not obtaining the building permits prior to start of the project they are not following the building code in the State of North Caroline. I would be happy to provide the building code and statements from building inspectors at the Town of Cary that they are not correct. They obtained building permits on day 4 of the project after I raised concerns about this issue. Further to avoid paying the double fines associated with this oversight they choose to incorrectly fill out the permit with the Town of Cary and falsified the document claiming they had not started yet. This issue is being sent to the NC General Contractors licensing board for review.I consulted with a lawyer and was informed I was within my right to dissolve the contract since they had failed to obtain permits in the proper method. Honestly I would have been fine with them continuing if they had not lied and told me they were doing it correctly. They even tried to equate going over the speed limit was similar to them failing to obtain building permits in the proper fashion. I feel they lied when they claimed to need the engineer to look inside the walls and view the framing. However the stamp of the engineer plans is from before the work started. There were multiple statements that arose that caused me to question their honestly and I chose to dissolve our contract.A verbal agreement was made that all the work they had completed would pass building code. This did not happen. A wall they had built was not to code because they used floor joist at the base instead of traditional framing. They had placed incorrect joist hangers on the supporting floor joists. Also they failed to follow the engineer's plans for a row of lag bolts/screws (necessary for long term safety). All of these items were on work they had completed. Perhaps they can argue that they planned on removing work they had already done. Either way it was wrong but they should have then notified me during our conversation that it would not pass. Instead they stated that everything they had done was correct and to code. I realize they were not finished but they did not complete the work they had done correctly. All of these factors including their contradicting statements of need for permits have made me question their standards and if they were just going to cover it up with sheetrock and never have it inspected. Work was stopped by them and an inspector reviewed the work before it continued with a new company. Pictures were taken by Greyhouse before they left. The conversation in question was recorded by me since I doubted their honestly. The new verbal contract agreed upon was that if the work they had completed did not meet standards I was to receive a full refund. I forwarded the issues the inspector found to them and they only said in one email response they would get back to me. They never did which is why I have chosen to address this with the Revdex.com. I would be open to mediation on this matter so all documents and recordings can be reviewed. Final Business Response /[redacted]/There are again multiple incorrect statements & twisting of the facts in what this individual is accusing our company of. For example, building permits WERE OBTAINED by our company for this project. The homeowner has claimed the permits were obtained on day 4 of the project. While this is not a false statement, it is misleading in that they were obtained after less than one day of construction. The first day of the project was nothing more than laying down protective coverings & opening up the wall to verify the assumptions made by the Engineer when drawing up his plans were correct. (Despite the claim this individual makes that this step in the process is unimportant, it is in fact both a critical & required portion of the Engineering process. Our Engineer would not seal the provided documents until this information was confirmed. Yes, absolutely he created the plans before the start of the project - this is due diligence on our part to make sure we start projects on time break ground on the day we contracted to do so. NOT having the information drawn up ahead of time would have resulted in a delay in the start as per our agreed upon start date in the contract. However, we could not move forward with the permit process without the Engineered documents, which we couldn't finalize until confirming that what was assumed was actually fact. Ironically just within the last few weeks, in the same jurisdiction, this same scenario presented itself to our company. We went to this same permit office with the Engineer's documents before doing one bit of demolition to try to obtain the permits and the same individuals from the Town of Cary dismissed us, saying to come back when the Engineered documents were complete. Our representative brought up that, "You do know & are aware that I must start demolition to obtain that information", and their representative said, "of course", knowing that the situation being discussed here had driven that conversation. In our last meeting with this customer, we even offered to go down to the Town of Cary together to discuss the situation with the individuals in the permit office so they could further explain things to her, but she never followed through.) Back to the timeline, Day 2 of the project starting by completing the demo process, and was when framing began. Permits were scheduled to be pulled that morning, but I - the owner of the company - was out sick that day & thus couldn't make it to the permit office. I have a receipt from the urgent care clinic I visited that morning as well as two receipts from pharmacies I visited immediately after, to prove that this was the case. However, this individual doesn't see it necessary to bring this into the discussion / equation when making her accusations against us that we were "never" going to pull a permit for her project. She can make that accusation, but just because that is her belief it doesn't mean that's the case. As further proof she was incorrect in her assumption about our intention to not pull permits, day 3 of the project there was no work performed whatsoever because I was still sick, and still unable to go to the permit office to secure the permits. So, we paused. Very first thing on Day 4 of the project - before any additional work was performed - the permits were obtained. So, yes, they were obtained on day 4 of the project. However, less than 1 day of actual construction had taken place. As for her accusations about "lying to the permit office" and "filling out the permit incorrectly", she is referring to a section that asks if the work in question was "previously completed". As per our contact with the Town of Cary and another individual we consulted with from the NC Licensing Board, the phrase "previously completed" refers to projects that were previously COMPLETED without a permit being pulled, and there must now be a permit obtained to go back to validate the work was completed according to Code. As this project had barely begun that was clearly not the case in this situation, and as this homeowner had already raised her concerns with the Town of Cary by the time we went to apply for the permit, the individuals in the permit office were already aware of her concerns and discussed specifically with us the situation. CITY OFFICIALS FROM THE TOWN OF CARY CHOSE NOT TO ISSUE A DOUBLE PERMIT FEE. After this individual found out we did not have to pay the double fee and escalated her accusations I even contacted the Town separately & offered to pay the extra fee anyway just to prove we weren't trying to avoid it in any way. I was again told that this was not necessary. Yet, we are still being accused of trying to "defraud" this individual by not obtaining permits & keeping the money from it, and/or not paying a double permit fee that we were never assessed. These accusations aer simply just not true. To put this in perspective, the cost of these items both total $136; hardly something worth risking the reputation & health of my business over.As for the framing work that's been called into question, several of these items were specifically discussed between our project manager & this individual leading into Day 4 as items that were on the list to be addressed that day, as they were with me at that time. Again, we would never be able to complete the inspection process or be issued a Certificate of Occupancy should we have covered up any code-violating framing, and her accusations that we intended to do such are just simply not true. We offered to see the project through to prove this to her, but this was not an acceptable solution to her and now we're being accused of never intending to do it in the first place.As a business owner I want to leave every customer satisfied with both their experience working with our company, and with the finished project. This case is no different, and I provided fact after fact to this customer about the history & values of our company, about my personal ethics & the approach I take to being a business owner, and about the specifics of this situation in an effort to reestablish a basic understanding that would allow us to resolve this issue. All were quickly dismissed by the customer and not one apology or extending of the olive branch was taken at face value, and ultimately we agreed to a loss of several thousand dollars to satisfy her.Final Consumer Response /[redacted]/(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)I am relieved that they admitted that the building permits were obtained on Day 4 of construction. However they still cannot admit they were wrong. To make it simplified at the end of day 3 the old foyer walls were demolished, a new floor system was installed and attached to the existing structure, and new walls were built in the new loft area. Whatever the excuse, it is still against North Carolina State building code to complete all of the above scope of work without a building permit. Their excuses as they presented then and now, continue to make me feel uneasy about their integrity or knowledge on building codes. After reading their reply I spoke with the Permit Supervisor at the Town of Cary (for privacy I have not posted their name but can provide to the Revdex.com) and they disagree with the reply. Building permits are needed before work begins. Also they were wrong to say it was new work when they completed the form, since they had already established a floor system and new walls. According to the Permit Supervisor this is pretty clear cut that they are wrong. After dancing around talk of time tables and the issues of permit, the original complaint is that they promised a refund of the deposit if the work they completed up on to that date did not pass inspection. There is a forty five minute recorded conversation that I would be happy to provide to the Revdex.com that supports the new verbal contract. I have supporting evidence from the inspectors with the Town of Cary that the work was not done correctly. If they felt they had given me enough then they should have not made a new verbal contract. I assume they thought when they agreed to the terms that they did not have to honor it.