• Report: #431604

Complaint Review: Seattle Cedar Homes - Lindal Cedar Homes

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  • Submitted: Fri, March 06, 2009
  • Updated: Mon, May 17, 2010

  • Reported By:Seattle Washington
Seattle Cedar Homes - Lindal Cedar Homes
4302 S 104th Pl, Seattle WA 98178 Seattle, Washington U.S.A.

Seattle Cedar Homes - Lindal Cedar Homes "Seattle Cedar Homes" Steals Deposit with Usual 'Bait and Switch' Pricing Games. Buyers Save $300K Designing Their Own Home Seattle Washington

*Author of original report: 18 Months Later

*Consumer Comment: Happy Birthday Sir Walter Lindal

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In November of 2007 we started our disappointing adventure with Lindal Cedar Homes by visiting the model home in Seattle and received a quote of $185 per sf on a standard plan. With modifications we planned to be on target to meet our budget. Unfortunately, we trusted this local business, but that trust was misplaced. If we had done our homework we would have discovered how Lindal really operates and could have avoided this very costly experience.

We purchased our lot in early 2008 and our Seattle Cedar Homes sales rep did a site visit. After determining that the plan worked on our property, we rearranged bedrooms, removed most of the decking, detached and raised the garage and added a studio above it. Overall we stayed within the footprint of the original plan except for the addition of a 2 ft extension bay window.

What's so important to emphasize here is that from day one Seattle Cedar Homes refused to give us individual written costs on the materials and intentionally kept the modifications vague and confusing, so we never knew where we stood. This situation left us totally vulnerable to pricing games and set us up to have our deposit unfairly confiscated later, even though we received no materials.

In April 2008 we received the first rough draft of our changes and were given a materials cost of $197,559. We decided to go with non-Lindal windows/doors and were given a credit of $12,051. We also changed the garage to standard construction and removed cedar liner. Later in the month we asked for new totals. The new calculation for materials was now more than $40,000 higher than the original cost! With all of the reductions how can the materials cost more? We were told, don't worry, we'd have time to recalculate later.

On May 4 we handed over our $33,600 deposit. The materials list still included the original windows and doors that we thought had been deleted in April. We were promised that this wasn't final and we would get the grand total after the pricing department had calculated everything for us. Later we tried to reduce costs further but because Lindal hadn't given us an updated materials total, we had no idea if we were within our budget. We still lacked any written documentation on the changes and the rep distracted us by saying, your house will probably make one of the new Lindal books! Although we had stated all along that there would be no financing, he suggested getting a loan for the 3rd time to cover their cost overruns.

By June the preliminary drawings were ready but we were now four months into this project and still didn't know what the total cost of our new home would be! In September we appied for the permit and finally got the change order of -$15.850 for the deleted windows. After all this time we still did not have the final total for our modifications and it became apparent that Lindal does not want us to know!

On November 3 our building permit was approved. We contacted our salesman who still didn't have our materials' cost down on paper. After some wrangling we got a verbal approximate number from him. With the latest contractor's bid the total cost is now $270,000 over what we had budgeted. Our $185.00 per sq ft price had risen to $266.00 per sq.ft.!!

The following weekend Steve went to SCH to see if it was possible to take that $270,000 out of the project. We discovered that we were not the only ones with budget problems, since during his visit a couple stopped by to get help modifying their plans due to their high cost overruns! Later via email we suggested several more reductions but the salesman admitted that he couldn't tell us what a stick of wood costs because Lindal's prices are bundled!" So, we were finally getting to the crux of this whole pricing problem. It became apparent that he couldn't help us because he didn't know!

In mid November we called our salesman for a new total. He seemed paralyzed and confused about how to handle the situation and suggested that we get financing to cover the difference, for the 4th time! Things got heated and we decided that we were going to have to build only the garage or walk away from the entire project. He tells us that we can't use our plans and that Lindal will be keeping our $33,600 deposit!

Talk about unfair and deceptive business practices! Lindal hides all the figures until the point of no return, then they spring the final amount on you when it's contractually too late to back out, and you have to either continue with their huge unjustified price increases or forfeit your money!

As a last resort, Lindal had us meet with another dealer/builder to try to save our deal. This exercise was more of the same games, as the builder purposely lowballed the cost, and omitted several items plus the sales tax. We were surprised to find out when checking his references that previous homeowners complained of the same pricing problems and other critical job issues.

By late November we made our decision to end this nightmare and hired an architect and engineer. On the bright side, the cost to build our newly designed dream home came in at $188.00 per sq. ft. for an enormous savings of more than $300,000 over Lindal's inflated price! It's been a huge relief to know the true cost to design and build our project, something that Lindal makes sure you don't know until after you've signed on the dotted line. Our message to those who are just starting: Keep your peace of mind and your money and do it yourself!


Steve and Mariam, Seattle WA

Seattle Washington
Seattle, Washington
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Lindal Cedar Homes

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/06/2009 06:18 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Seattle-Cedar-Homes-Lindal-Cedar-Homes/Seattle-Washington-98178/Seattle-Cedar-Homes-Lindal-Cedar-Homes-Seattle-Cedar-Homes-Steals-Deposit-with-Usual--431604. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 1Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

18 Months Later

AUTHOR: Seattle washington - (U.S.A.)

We are still trying to recover our deposit from Lindal Cedar Homes.  The contract that we signed was with Seattle Cedar Homes.  Their website showed them as an Independent Dealer of Lindal Cedar Homes.  We filed a complaint to the State of Washington Dept. of Revenue and the Employment Security Dept.when we couldn't find a business license listed under the name of Seattle Cedar Homes, nor a "doing business as" license under Lindal Cedar Homes.  It seems that Seattle Cedar Homes had no business license and didn't until about 9 months ago.     

Further investigation by Employment Security found that they in fact are NOT an Independent Dealer; they ARE Lindal Cedar Homes. They have since corrected one part of their website to show that they are a wholly owned subsidiary of Lindal Cedar Homes but right on the same line it still shows that they are Independent Distributors of Lindal Cedar Homes....in my opinion, it's still very deceiving.  Why would a company not be upfront and straight forward with a customer.  As a consumer we have a right to know WHO we have signed a contract with and WHO we are doing business with..

An officer of Lindal Cedar Homes is willing to talk to us but will not do so with our attorney present.  Again, we have to ask, why?  Had they been willing to work with us 18 months ago by answering our questions instead of trying to get more money out of us, we probably wouldn't be here today still trying to recover our deposit.

Based on the number of complaints that I've seen here and on other websites, there is a common theme. If you don't have it in writing, you're on the hook once they get your deposit.  Build it or walk away from your money no matter what the issue is. First, get EVERYTHING in writing including any prices per square ft. that they throw out to you even if it's just a range of prices.  Make certain that you know exactly what is and isn't included in the price that they quote you (in writing). Second, don't sign any contract that has an Arbitration clause in it without consulting an attorney.  It will make it easier for you in the future should something go horribly wrong as it did with us and many others before us.   

I will post further updates if and when we make progress.

        

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#2 Consumer Comment

Happy Birthday Sir Walter Lindal

AUTHOR: Edwin - (U.S.A.)

You may not know it but we all celebrated Sir Walter Lindal's 85th birthday recently.

Well Happy Birthday Sir Walter and as a nice gift for you we have the misappropriated deposit on Steve and Mariam's failed project. Your bands of gypsy thieves are at it again and in your own back yard of Seattle too! Your Seattle Cedar Home reps have a history of failed businesses ensuring Lindal continues to receive the tarnish most of your competitors seem to be free of!

It appears that this nice couple fell victim to some of the typical Lindal Cedar scams. All one has to do is search the Net to find the history of Lindal's unbeatable design resources and unparalleled service and then there's your warranty that really isn't!

The plans that seem to be useless, materials that are substandard, windows that leak, beams that separate, dealers that disappear, dealers that lie about their credentials, dealers that lie about the services they'll provide, deposits on materials that are really for bogus services rendered. The fraudulent price sheets to lure the customer into signing only to find out that shortly thereafter, the price is now 10X the higher. The large portion of your profits that come from abandoned projects similar to the one where your sons in Seattle conspired with Prescott Designer Homes in Arizona to bully the customer into paying for your unbeatable incompetence and ineptitude. You remember Charlie don't you? His agreement will not keep him quiet in court you know That shut up clause doesn't work there!

Lets ASK SIR WALTER this question!

On your website http://lindal.com/homes/experience/service.cfm
You claim Lindal Dealers WILL:
-Determine the home building costs associated with your chosen home design and the costs of any additional personalization that you choose.

Yet in your crummy ol contract you actually have the nerve to state in Paragraph 18 that:
Client acknowledges that the Dealer and Lindal will have incurred substantial costs all of which are difficult to calculate and estimate."

So what's that all about Sir Walter..? We thought you knew what you were doing and here you state your boys can't estimate or calculate right there in your very own contract? Phew.. I'll bet Mariam and Steve are real glad that they ended it when they did!

We're keeping a close eye on this one Sir Walter So I hope you have enjoyed your birthday while you reminisce about the countless families your corrupt business has plunged into financial doom.

I'm sorry I missed this celebration. I'll try to bring all those ripped off customers to your next one and we'll celebrate like good ol friends! You should send Steve and Mariam a thank you note for their generous loss. Or maybe you should consider returning it so the world can see you're not the curmudgeon your modern American business ethics show you to be!

Another EX Lindal Customer!
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