Raleigh's best and worst contractors of 2008
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Raleigh contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Raleigh and Durham area.
A-Z Home Repair & Improvements
Ann Wilkinson keeps the number to A Z Home Repair and Improvements handy when she needs work done in her home. “Shawn von Allmen [the owner] is an exceptional person,” Wilkinson says. “He’s never failed to do exactly what I wanted and what he said he would do.” Communication and integrity are two of the most important aspects to von Allmen and his business, and his customers have noticed — they consistently give him “A” ratings on Angie’s List. “I’m driven to be fair to my customers and to inform them above all,” says von Allmen. “So many people get taken for a ride [by contractors]. The best part about owning my company is being able to restore faith and trust in my customers.”
Tim Howell, the owner of Rain-Go, started installing gutters in 1994. After working for three other gutter companies, he went into the business on his own. “The secret to success is making the customer happy,” says Howell, who makes it a point to give back to the community by participating in Habitat for Humanity each year. “I try to treat my customers the same way I’d like to be treated.”
David Storey is just one of many customers who reported on Angie’s List about receiving that courtesy when calling Rain-Go. Storey wanted gutter helmets installed and thought all of his gutters would have to be replaced, but Howell found an alternative. “He saved me money and instantly built trust,” Storey says.
The Window Pros of Hickory
After signing a contract with The Window Pros of Hickory in June 2007, Bunny and Larry Llewellyn of Winston-Salem say they realized something wasn’t right. “There were so many loopholes,” says Bunny, who then decided to cancel the contract. She says they were told their three-day right to cancel had already passed, so she contacted the attorney general for help.
In September, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper sued The Window Pros on behalf of 27 customers, alleging the company refused to cancel contracts and threatened to sue or place liens on their homes.
Attorney Richard M. Koch, who represents The Window Pros, says the complaints are due to a rogue employee. “As soon as Eugene [Granelle, the owner] found out about [his employee], he was terminated,” Koch says. “We’ve been in discussion with the attorney general and have a difference in opinion.”
Noelle Talley, public information officer for the attorney general, says they’re moving forward with the case. “We believe the [company] practices that consumers complained about go beyond any one employee,” she says.
Complete Home Remodels
Kevin and Lindsay Johnson say their problems with Complete Home Remodels began when they paid owner Roman Okrepky $25,000 up front for home remodeling and landscaping. Kevin says Okrepky stopped showing up with $8,000 worth of work still incomplete. “When our attorney called him, he said he couldn’t pay us back,” he says.
Kevin says they filed suit and were awarded $5,000. Shortly thereafter, in mid-2008, Okrepky filed bankruptcy. The bankruptcy papers show money owed to three former customers, including the Johnsons. One Angie’s List member also complained about Okrepky’s workmanship: “He did some of the worst carpentry work I’ve ever seen.” Okrepky says he ran into financial difficulties when a major job shut down and someone who was working with him filed bankruptcy. “I was wiped out financially,” he says. Due to the bankruptcy, Okrepky says he won’t be required to make payments to the three clients.