Landscape contractor was hired for a backyard project. This landscape contractor was found listed in the Better Business Bureau as an accredited business, with no complaints, and a satisfactory rating. This landscape contractor was also listed as a landscape architect, designer, and contractor.
After over $31,000.00 was paid into this project, which was already over the last signed contract modification, this landscape contractor stated that an additional $12,000.00 would be needed to finish the project. By this time the majority of the work had been done, including the heavy work of building retaining walls, laying in fill dirt, sod, and numerous plants. Work was stopped at this point and we requested a full and detailed accounting of all money spent on this project (which we never received). At this time the contractor left the work site and never returned (this was late January, 2009). Our next contact was by email and telephone, where this contractor threatened to have a lien placed on our house, hoping to force us to pay what this contractor believed was owed.
Prior to the end of work on this project, it was found out that this contractor had their license administratively revoked in 2001 (reasons unknown). Also prior to the end of work, the stone caps on top of our retaining walls had cracked in several places along the length of all walls. When the contractor was notified of these cracks, and other obvious problems that had begun to develop, the contractor stated it would cost more money to have any repairs made.
For our protection, we retained the services of an attorney, and a lawsuit was filed in order to force this contractor to pay for any and all repairs or modifications that would be needed. The legal issue lasted from March, 2009, to September 2010, at which time the contractor filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. During this period of time we had an independent landscape contractor, a soil reinforcement specialist company, a local county inspector, and a local county engineer, conduct inspections of our backyard project. We even had a sales representative for the block manufacturer (the type used in all the retaining walls) inspect the walls. All these inspections showed that the majority of the construction on this project was all wrong.
The inspections revealed that all the walls were not built in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, nor were they in compliance with the county codes or any inspection criteria. The fill dirt was laid in too soon, with too much, and with no Geo-grid for stabilizing the fill dirt. The drainage system is insufficient and improper for what is needed. As time has passed, there are numerous locations on all the retaining walls that show the blocks are separating, and parts of the walls are being pushed out beyond a vertical line. Certain sections of the large wall are in danger of falling apart. As a result of this construction, we now have drainage and erosion problems with other parts of our backyard.
This contractor misrepresented herself as a licensed contractor when she wasn't; she failed to obtain any permits; failed to have any in-progress inspections; failed to build our walls in accordance with codes and specifications; failed to stabilize the fill dirt; failed to install a proper drainage system; and overcharged us on every aspect of the project, to include the cost of all plantings.
This contractor has committed fraud against us with her business dealings; she has displayed incompetence and negligence in her job performance and bookkeeping; she shows poor work ethics, and will not admit to any culpability in her job performance.