SHORT VERSION: don't trust a contractor just because your Home Owner's Association (HOA) employs them. LONG VERSION: Titan Residential Services AKA Titan Services does the lawn care for Breckenridge Community in Madison where I live. I wanted some landscaping work done, so I contracted one of Titan?s owners, Greg Edwards. I wanted to make sure that what I was having done would not make it significantly harder for his people to mow and trim my lawn. Mr. Edwards was very charming and personable. He told me that Titan did landscaping as well as lawn care. I happily asked him to give me an estimate on the landscaping. After all, my HOA trusted him. Then, he told me that lawn care and landscaping were his secondary businesses?he and his partner were primarily builder/contractors and I had some siding that looked like it needed work. I was in complete agreement about the siding. When I purchased my house, I had been told that the siding was ?Hardie board? (https://www.jameshardie.com/# ), a tough, concrete fiber composite. I learned almost immediately after closing that the siding was Masonite ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonite ), a kind of particleboard. In places, the siding on my house crumbled when touched. The damage was on two sides of my house where someone had not sealed the lower edges and water had been absorbed, swelling and warping the particleboard. The two walls fall into three logical sections: back wall, sidewall behind entry, and sidewall in front of entry. The sidewall in front of the entry had the worst and most damage. Mr. Edwards went on to point out some decaying wood trim. I asked Mr. Edwards to give me an estimate on replacing the damaged siding and trim with concrete fiberboard materials. His first estimate combined the two jobs, landscaping and house repairs and did not mention the type of siding or trim. I asked that he bid on the house repairs only and put in writing that he would use concrete fiber materials. We discussed the fact that I did not want any more Masonite; I wanted concrete fiber. It didn?t have to be the HardiePlank name brand, but I wanted concrete fiber, not particleboard. The result was the estimate of $3740 which specified "Hardy [sic] board concrete materials" and "Hardy [sic] board materials". When I first met Mr. Mike Barecky, the co-owner of Titan, he mentioned vinyl siding (for the entire house) and again, I explained that I did not want anything other than concrete fiber materials. Because I thought my HOA trusted them, I trusted them. We didn?t sign a contract. If we did, I cannot find my copy. I didn't even get a signature on the estimate. I was a complete, absolute fool, taken in by a charming liar. I told Mr. Edwards that I wanted to be present occasionally while his folks were working on my house. I wanted to check the condition of the insulation and the rest of the structure that might be visible once the outer walls were off, and I wanted to make sure I left out a cooler of iced-down Gatorades and bottled water for anyone working in this heat. Mr. Edwards kept assuring me that was not necessary. I kept assuring him that it was. Late one Monday, I received a text saying that Titan had made tremendous progress on my house. I again told Mr. Edwards that he needed to let me know when his people were going to be working on my house. Titan had replaced the damaged siding on the back of my house and on the side of my house behind the entryway (two of the three sections). One day, I arrived home early and found Mr. Barecky, painting the new siding. He told me that they had had to have the siding sanded in order to make it smooth like the old siding. I told him that he should have asked me first?I would have preferred the texture. At the time, I believed the siding was concrete fiber, so the fact that texture had been sanded off of the front did not concern me. Please note: during the discussion that day, Mr. Barecky did not mention the composition of the siding. He did not mention that he and/or his partner had decided to _not_ use the concrete fiberboard I required. Had he said anything of the sort, I would have halted the work immediately. I did not want any more particleboard on my house, and at that point, Titan could have painted the two sections and we?d have discussed why they had not purchased what I had explicitly told them to use and whether they could correct that and proceed. But, Mr. Barecky did not mention the substitution. At some point, I found a cut trim piece that was obviously wood. I thought there had been a minor misunderstanding that could be cleared up with some discussion. I have every other Friday off from work, so I was at home on 24 July when Titan came to replace the last section of siding, in front of the entry way. The Titan co-owners were none too pleased that I was present. Because he seemed to be having a bad morning, I did not immediately ask Mr. Edwards why some of the trim appeared to be wood. Hindsight provides a different explanation for Mr. Edwards? demeanor that morning, but at the time, idiot that I am, I just thought he was really not a morning person. Titan had finished removing the old siding from my house before I realized that the siding they were putting up flexed and bent in ways that did not indicate concrete fiber. I asked flatly whether the siding was Hardie board or not. Mr. Edwards began arguing that what they were using was ?exactly? what was on the rest of the house. I stated that that was Masonite, not concrete fiberboard. I reminded him that I had had him put it in writing that I wanted concrete fiberboard, but frankly, I was so shocked that he would ignore the single issue on which I had been adamant that I'm not sure what else I said. That night, I took pictures of the particleboard and its labeling. I was so hurt and angry, I felt so betrayed, that I could not sleep and had a sick headache most of the rest of the next day. I remained civil to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Barecky while they covered the section of my house that they had exposed and painted the particleboard. I provided them with cold Gatorade and offered to buy them a fast-food lunch or dinner. Late on Saturday, when the Titan co-owners expected to be paid, I pointed out that the original estimate had been for concrete fiber, not Masonite and wood. Mike, the co-owner said that he'd discussed the switch with me, the day I?d come home while he was painting. I told him straightly that he had not and I recounted details of the conversation. We did not discuss the use of wood instead of concrete fiber for the trim. Titan said that they had had to ?special order?? the Masonite and have it sanded so it had cost more than Hardie Board. I believed and still believe that they were lying, but it doesn't matter--they knew I did _not_ want Masonite, but they used it anyway and tried to hide that fact. I repeated that they had not had permission to use inferior products instead of the concrete fiberboard that was in writing. Because I wanted these liars out of my sight, I wrote them a check for the rest of the original estimate. On Tuesday 28 July, I did a web search and learned that the siding they installed on my house is 120 SERIES LAP-T4 from LP Building Products (http://www.lpsmartside.com/Products/Lap/) and that Titan?s having sanded the factory sealant off has violated all product warranty. So, the siding is not "exactly" what is on the rest of my house. The siding on the rest of my house had a warranty. The particleboard that Titan put up does not; Titan voided that warranty (without my permission or knowledge) by sanding off the factory-applied sealants. I contacted Madison City Building Permits, asking if this sort of thing is an issue, and it is?for me. The City can do nothing because Titan is not licensed. I also learned that Titan had thrown a panel of the particleboard into the creek beside my house. I can?t look at those parts of my house now without starting to cry. I can?t really even think about it without starting to cry. I?m a good person. I treat people the way I want to be treated. I don?t lie. I don?t cheat. I am generous and kind and I certainly don?t want to cheat anyone. I take good care of things that are my responsibility. I made it clear before the fact, to both Titan owners, that I wanted concrete fiberboard and that I wanted nothing but concrete fiber materials. Titan could have told me they don?t work with concrete fiber, or they could have written the estimate for more money. Instead, they lied. In hindsight, they also tried to keep me from discovering what they had done (by not informing me when they would be working). But that?s hindsight. At the time, I trusted them. I was a fool.