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D&D called me the end of the week before starting to say they would be there on 11/25. I told them I was taking off work to be there. They said they had an "A" rating on Angie's list (I was not a member yet so did not check), and considered it important to do good work. It all seemed good.
On 11/25, they did not show up in the morning. I called multiple times without being able to reach anyone, but was eventually told they'd come maybe later that afternoon. I doubted that & went to work (to Boston by train) so as not to waste the entire day. Someone did in fact showed up at 3 and started. Their office called me on my way home to say they'd be back next day, probably around 3, to finish up. Based on that, I figured they had somehow gotten most of it done, but asked if it was safe to use furnace overnight. The office guy needed to talk to laborer who did the work to find out - could not do so until 7:30. I asked him to call me to confirm my family was safe with the chimney apart. Never got a call back.
I got home, found the top 3 courses removed, 12-15 loose new bricks stacked on the chimney, 4 new bricks already mortared in place (making it obvious that the worker thought this was a 3 course job), my AC compressor dented in several places and covered with sand/debris, and the hard plastic cover I had over it destroyed. I frantically called BEFORE 7:30 all nos. I had for D&D - the only call back was at 9 pm from worker who had done the work. He told me the office opened at noon! I said do not do anything more until I talked to the owner. I asked him what if a storm came in before they could finish, and he said the opening would have to be tarped.
Next day, I went to work, thinking nothing was going to be resolved before noon. I got a call from the owner at 9 and started to explain what happened. He cut me off, angrily denied my AC compressor had been dented, insisted the plywood had been put on the compressor because he saw it loaded on truck (where it had obviosly stayed), denied anything was wrong with the job, and said because I tampered with his staff (by telling the worker not to do anything more until I spoke to the owner), he had irrevocably rescheduled the "crew" to another job and could not get back to mine until Mon 12/2, i.e., after Thanksgiving WEEK, with no finished top on my chimney and storms coming in. They had had to deal with an emergency which was why they did not show up as promised the day before. (Fine, then call me so I'm not wasting vacation time.) He said he had known I would be a difficult customer (!?) because I had called a few weeks before the start date and asked about providing the specified chimney cap myself (I saw it online for $100 vs his charge of $300), which I decided after asking D&D about it not to bother doing, since it only would have saved me $50 and, after all, these guys were pros. He said he had no one available to tarp my open chimney but said I should get the bricks off top due to expected heavy winds & incoming storm that night. He said I did not need to be there to "babysit" his crew when they did show up. He ended the 20 min call saying D&D would make everything right and I would be 150% satisfied in the end. I had actually called one of the other bidders to step in but they could not get there any quicker and I wanted D&D to address the damages so decided to stick it out with them. I tarped the open chimney before the storm. We did not have the use of the fireplace for Thanksgiving week with my daughter & fiance visiting, complements of D&D.
Mon. 12/2 after calling repeatedly when they did not show by late morning, I got a call back that the owner would be there late Mon or first thing Tues with the "crew right behind him". They never showed Mon (another day off from work). By noon Tues (another day), no word. I started calling other contractors. Then got a call fm D&D after noon that crew would be there in 20 min. What about owner? I needed to resolve how the damages were going to be addressed before more work was done. I was told he would be there at end of job. I said I wanted him there before any more work was done to discuss handling the damage, and had been checking with other contractors to finish it. I was then told he was available and would be there soon.
My HVAC co. had told me parts for the top of my compressor were $600, labor for them to install them was $400. After seeing the damage, the owner agreed to cut $300
Next day, 12/4, the worker showed at a reasonable hour to start rebuilding. He said a helper was expected at 10:00 with the cap. He was a hard worker but only had 2 yrs experience. The helper with the cap never showed. I noticed from the ground that the first courses were noticeably skewed from the original chimney lines and pointed it out before they set. He was able to adjust them some, but they are still a bit off. Since he had no help and only 1 ladder, requiring him to work from the roof, he could not see the chimney from the other side. When he mentioned this later in the day, I got my ladder out to provide access to the other side. He finished rebuilding after dark, and told me someone would come next day to install the cap.
Next day, I decided to go to work because I had already lost several work days, the masonry was done, and only the cap had to be installed. On my way home, I got a call that the job was done and they wanted their payment. When I got home, I saw the cap had been attached to the top with construction adhesive and was crooked by about 1 inch off side-to-side, quite noticeable from the ground. Also, there were about 20 lbs of masonry debris all over that side of the yard, which I cleaned up.
This was a small job that should have taken a day, but ended up being the worse contractor experience I have ever had.
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