Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angry Contractor? What to do?

When you need some work on the house beyond the abilities of your regular handy man you start looking for a contractor. Sometimes you get a package deal that comes with unresolved anger. That was the case with one contractor we asked to bid on a job.

The guy was prompt and showed up as promised. He hopped out of a late model truck with a beautiful vinyl wrap displaying the company's name. It looked really professional.  But with his first step out of the vehicle, he launched into a non-stop sales pitch.

Right away, we knew something was up with this guy when he brought up the hail storms that had hit our area months earlier. Oh yes, the weather reports substantiated it, he could attest to this because he'd pulled some reports.

We mentioned that it had been six months since the last major storm.

"Oh, that's not a problem," he assured us. "They'll still pay for an insurance claim."

And by the way, he could probably squeeze in our other repair into a complete roofing job that the insurance company would approve.

"Un uh", my husband promptly told him. We haven't seen any damage on the roof. "All we want is the dry rot on the siding fixed. We're not worried about the roof," the hubby said. "It was replaced after the straight line winds came through here a few years back."

This was our room addition project in 2008.
"Oh, I can assure you they'll pay for the roof," the contractor continued. "I've got a team of lawyers who'll back that up," he said. He went to his truck, grabbed his ladder and propped it up against the house. "I'll just take a quick peek at the condition of the shingles."

The husband was starting to get tense. That was clear from his clenched jawline and frustrated frown.

When the contractor came back down, the report was not good. "Only about three shingles missing," he told us with a strong level of disappointment.

We tried to bring his attention back to the rotted siding, at which point, the guy started ripping at one of the damaged trim boards on the front of the home. "See that?" he questioned, holding out a large chunk of wood for us to inspect. "Damage like this usually leads to more problems once you get started." His speech was well rehearsed. Without flinching, he returned to the topic of roof repair. "The insurance company will cover most of this damage," he said, "as long as we tuck it in with the roof repair." He continued ripping off more of the trim.

Home remodeling can be difficult.
With unconcealed frustration, the husband asked, "Could you just let us know how much it would be to fix the siding?  We aren't interested in fixing the roof." He mentioned Angie's List and asked if the guy was on it.

The guy took down his ladder and slammed it into the back of the truck, then, called to my husband from the tailgate, "Why don't you come over here and ask me?"

My husband held his ground beside me near the house, at which point the angry contractor came back to where we stood. Red faced, he stepped directly into my husband's personal space less than a foot away. He began shaking a finger right into his face.

"You need to take a step back," my husband told him.

I pulled at J's arm and said something to the effect of, "Honey, don't. Let's just forget the whole thing." The guy was a head taller and in peak physical shape. My concerns were for J's immediate safety after recent back surgery and the fact that he was twenty years older than the big angry dude.

The guy walked back to his truck, backed out of the drive and yelled out, "Eff you. Don't ever call me again."

As if we ever would.

I searched online to look at the company's Better Business Bureau rating. Surprisingly, he had an A minus evaluation from the bureau. I should have reported him but I was reluctant to do so for fear of repercussion. We live quite a way out in the boondocks and depend on a volunteer fire department.

I couldn't help but think of several houses that have burned down out here as a result of arson.


  1. Sounds like contractors should be rated not just by the work they do but by what kind of temper they have.

    1. That's really an important factor well beyond the price, Rasma. Nice to see you here.

  2. Hi Peg - I think I have met that same contractor. I am glad J was able to hold his anger and not have to confront the guy. I may have ended up with black-eyes, because, I would not have let the guy climb up on the roof.

    The price of home ownership is a high plus a big dose of patience.

    1. There were a few moments where I thought it was going to get ugly, Mike. The guy was truly scary. You're right about home ownership and patience. Funny thing was that it rained for the first time in ages shortly after that contractor visited and the roof leaked. Our regular contractor fixed it for about a third of the price from the guy on Angie's List. It pays to get three bids.