In addition to great recommendations on Angie's List, out of the four contractors we asked to bid on our addition, we chose ImproveAmerica, Inc. because they guaranteed the lowest price, claiming the other three contractors were "wasting our money" or trying to cheat us by saying the existing structure (a two story screened-in porch) needed to be torn down. Mel Madaris assured us he could save us a lot of money by just modifying the existing structure (turning the screened-in porches into a sunroom and deck). However, after many attempts to build something one day, then tear it down the next, ImproveAmerica, Inc. ended up tearing off the existing screened-in porches and building a new structure. Had we known ImproveAmerica,Inc. was going to do this, we would have hired one of the other contractors. That was a big mistake and one we deeply regret. Potential customers: if you read no further, read this: Don't do business with these people! You will regret it. Between my husband and I, we have hired over 11 building contractors to renovate and build homes. Naturally, things don't always go smoothly or perfectly, but we have never dealt with such dishonest, hostile, and unprofessional people. First of all, we have not finalized our business with ImproveAmerica, Inc. because they refused to finish our job and started demanding non-scheduled payments prior to completion AND final inspections. ImproveAmerica, Inc. hired an attorney and began sending threatening letters demanding we pay them the balance ($14,576, which changes, depending on the mysterious and undocumented "extras" ImproveAmerica, Inc. decides to add). Because of this, we were forced to hire our own attorney and, as yet, have not resolved this: the Madaris' continue to refuse to reimburse us for expenses they asked us to pay (with the promise they would remove this from the final bill),and they refuse to finish the job, repair property damages, and obtain final inspections. Furthermore, they are attempting to charge us for new, bogus "change orders" and change orders we have previously paid. We hope integrity will prevail and that they will do the right thing, and we have no doubt our claims against them are legally justified. Mel and Paulina Madaris', the owners of ImproveAmerica, Inc., have been hostile and difficult to deal with from the time they cashed our first check. Prior to getting our business, they were lovely and seemed competent and experienced. However, things went downhill very quickly. First of all, ImproveAmerica,Inc. never had a plan, although they assured us it wasn't necessary. When we asked for one--even a rudimentary sketch--Mel claimed he wasn't "artistic" or an "architect," and couldn't provide one. This happened more than once throughout the process. On October 11, 2014, we signed a contract with Improve America, Inc. to "convert the existing screened porches to sunrooms extending these spaces 10 feet. Window and doors as described will be altered." After we signed the contract, Mel obtained a building permit from the City of Chattanooga for $54,800. His application to the City of Chattanooga stated: "We are extending the existing screen room out 52" and turning into a sunroom, 2 story." His building permit was issued November, 11, 2014 for $54,800. The contract value per October 11, 2014, was $71,800, Shortly after construction began, Mel told us he was "up all night worrying" because he had recently been told the city sewer line ran across our property at an odd angle, and we wouldn't be able to build the addition we had discussed with him. We were flexible and willing to redesign. The good news, according to the Mel and Paulina Madaris was, this mistake would "save us a lot of money." It didn't. Even after this, Mel refused to give us a plan. ImproveAmerica, Inc. claims they do not owe us explanations or documentation for additional work orders. These included: I. ImproveAmerica, Inc. charged an additional $400 "to remove the overhang on the top story addition and move the ceiling joists up to allow the height of the room to be maximized," which is something they had to do anyway to build the addition. II. ImproveAmerica, Inc. charged an additional $200 to put "R19 between floors 10 x 17" III. Improve America, Inc. charged an additional $924 for "Special tests for the permit process not originally figured: 1) Dye Test (to prove sewer active)=$190; 2) Camera to locate sewer=$449.00; and 3) to move washer drain (in footing)=$285." However, ImproveAmerica, Inc. had these tests conducted on un-permitted, unlicensed (in the state of Tennessee) work. We had to hire our own plumbing contractor who was licensed and permitted, and we paid this company over $5000. When we asked Mel Madaris about charging us for inferior work that was unlicensed and un-permitted, he said it wasn't his responsibility: it was his plumbing subs' responsibility. Rather than catalogue the entire debacle--and it has been fraught with outlandish charges and lies--here are a few of the highlights: Mismatched Shower Tile and Grout: Our contract states Improve America, Inc. charged us $3200 to "create a tile shower and install customer's tile and faucet in a predetermined 3 x 3 area." The $3200 is for the labor only. We paid for all materials. ImproveAmerica, Inc.'s tile subcontractor "accidentally" used two different types of tile and two different colors of grout. This is one of the things Mel and Paulina examined and admitted was a mistake that needed to be repaired (although they expected us to provide the new tile and grout). We expected them to follow through on this, but they have refused to repair it. Driveway and Yard Damage: On December 27, 2014, we signed an "Additional Work Authorization #9" amending "the original contract dated 10-11-2014," which states: "we will grade and level soil disrupted during construction of sunroom to match existing terrain." Our yard is precipitously sloped and has deep ruts running across it from the grading equipment. Mel Madaris told us he had refused to pay his excavating sub because he (the sub) didn't do the work to Mel's satisfaction, and that there were still things he wanted him to do. In ImproveAmerica,Inc.'s latest letter from their attorney, he claims that he didn't state this and that the grading is completed. Delays: When we began the work in October, the plumber disappeared and Mel told us he was having "legal problems." This delayed the job for 3 weeks. It is 6 months later and the job still isn't finished. Mel continually blamed the weather for the delays (and we certainly understand how weather adversely affects construction), but there were entire weeks we had perfectly clear weather and no one showed up because his employees were working other jobs. His employees told us, "Mel (the owner) keeps pulling us off of this job." Attitude: Very unprofessional and hostile. Whenever we questioned Mel and Paulina Madaris' calculations or their work, they became defensive and hostile. They claimed we just didn't understand their "accounting software," which is ridiculous. My husband was a CPA, and was very familiar with the software, and I kept books for two companies. What we didn't understand were the random, undocumented charges and the numbers that just didn't add up. When we realized we were in trouble, we went to the City of Chattanooga Land Develoment Office and obtained copies of ImproveAmerica, Inc's permit applications and documentation. When we showed them to Improve America, Inc., at a meeting, Paulina asked us, "what possessed you to go to the City?" Marketing Tricks: Mel and Paulina Madaris of ImproveAmerica,Inc. presented a variety of documents in their sales package, including awards from Angie's List for being "complaint free." We aren't quite sure how they managed to obtain these awards, because there have been complaints registered against Angie's List ( and I strongly encourage potential customers to carefully read these complaints and note a pattern: Please don't minimize the complaints or believe ImproveAmerica's response, as we did). Upon closer inspection, they use only the awards from the years they were complaint-free. Furthermore, ImproveAmerica,Inc's sales package included a "5 year guarantee" on all of their work, but the document was unsigned and remained that way, so ImproveAmerica, Inc's "5 year guarantee" is worth the paper it is printed on. We have extensive experience with building contractors and knew better than to expect perfection or a smoothly running job. Even with the most reputable builders, things go wrong, work gets delayed, and old houses are full of surprises. We have survived multiple renovations and new home construction, and we were always able to resolve issues promptly, amicably, and professionally--without involving attorneys. However, Mel and Paulina Madaris of Improve America abandoned this job, hired an attorney, and started demanding final payment before anything had been resolved: they simply refused to finish and demanded payment for work that had not received its final inspection from the city. We have never worked with someone as inept and hostile as ImproveAmerica, Inc. They became, quite frankly, downright menacing. I have provided some of the details of this disaster, but I have much more information substantiating how we and others have been duped. Of course, we can expect Mel and Paulina Madaris of ImproveAmerica,Inc. to respond to our complaint as they have to other dissatisfied customers in the past, and that is by blaming the customer. However, I can assure you, we are honest, hardworking individuals and we have tried to work with them, and we have lowered our expectations repeatedly to make this work.