In late 2007 my wife and I were told by Lindal's Tacoma dealer that we could own a home similar to the handsome prow model displayed on the lot and it could be built "easily for $150/foot." That included materials, construction and infrastucture. So we eagerly signed on the line and paid the dealer a deposit over $20,000.
Months later, after many requests for quotes from area Lindal contractors (they were apparently too busy to deal with us) we received estimates from two contractors that placed actual cost at about $225/foot, 50% higher than the estimate and our budget. We were forced to cancel the project then requested a partial refund, appreciating that some custom work had been done on the standard model design and it deserved fair compensation.
Nothing happened--no response from the dealer after several weeks of trying to contact him about the refund. Finally we received a letter from Lindal's corporate attorney stating that all the funds ($20,000+) had been used up and no refund would be paid. I sent a detailed letter to Lindal headquarters hoping for empathy and was told instead that they could not help us because they had provided per the terms of the contract, and in addition, there were personal relationships between Lindal management and the dealer that they didn't want to compromise. Besides that, "they were hurting too."
In mid-2009 I filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office which was forwarded to the dealer, and a month later I received another letter from the corporate attorney, this time accusing me of "fenagling the numbers" and still claiming that the house could easily be built for $150/foot. After all, they charged, I had not included the full finished basement in the plans. And once again, my request for a refund was denied.
The fact is that the basemen in our plan was completely open and unfinished --Lindal was not even referring to the correct file. The AG's office advised us that they could do nothing more than offer resources for us to fight Lindal in court (aka a phone list of attorneys we could hire)-- and continue to collect more consumer complaints. Not much help when we are virtually broke by this time.
We are now seeking other families in the Seattle area who have had similar experiences with Lindal. Lindal's sales practices are grossly misleading and their policies unfair to their customers, some like us whom have lost most of their life savings in unrefunded deposits. Their misrepresentations have to be stopped before they hurt even more people.