Contracted with West Coast Vinyl 2004 to replace windows and a sliding door, and a dog door. This was a one day job. Installation chosen manner was cut out old windows, set in new windows, caulk, and add molding flush with house. Also WCV was to remove all the old windows and glass. WCV was not to use sub contractors--they did--a supervisor was to be on site at all times, Jim Foust. Never saw him. WCV missed two installation times. WCV used sub contractors and work ready persons.
In every instance, without an exception, all communication between WCV and the homeowners was propelled by the homeowner. WCV never returned any calls or messages. WCV had road blocks at every interesection with regard to communication. No promised return telephone calls were made.
Utter confussion and chaos took place.* WCV did not install the windows by the agreed upon method, they pried out the old windows, causing all woodwork to be damaged, they did not caulk, and they nailed the windows to the house. The molding is not mitered, nailed with rust producing nails, does not fit flush,and is coming off. The windows are leaking, fogging up and look like they are falling off the house. Screens are missing or damaged. WCV did not finish the work, did not remove all the old windows or glass and did $7500 worth of collateral property damage and lost the family dog. WCV walked off the job.
WCV employee took the orginal contract from the homeowners the first day (of dozens) of work to add a window that was left off. We never saw the contract or the worker again. We were told that the final contract would be the one that was used for the job exceptance document and the one that would go to GECAPITOL finance company for the payment.
January, 05 the homeowners filed a complaint with the WA State AG because of all the mess and non communication with WCV. The AG accepted the complaint as valid and assigned it as a case. A letter was received by the homeowner that the AG had contacted WCV and they were sorry to report that WCV had refused to enter into any dispute resolution through their office.
March, 05, the homeowner used trickery to speak with Jamie Kerstad, WCV VP. They asked if WCV was walking off the job and were told no, that a completion would take place on 2 April 05. Lists were exchanged and communication took place as to what was to be done. WCV was told by the homeowners that after 15 April 05 no workers could be in the home due to medical issues.
2 April 05 two workers came 2.5 hours late without all the needed windows and doors **see dog door issues later. They didn't do any work but promised Mr Homeowner that they would work with him to complete the job within two weeks. They would have the final walk through and papers to submit for payment. THey were told that Ms Homeowner would not be able to participate. At this point there wasn't one window installed correctly, there was mass leaking and fogging up, the dog door and sliding door did not lock or shut, most of the damage was still visable and the windows and glass left on the homeowner's property were still there. Only the glass and window that WCV threw in the neighbor's yard was removed.
*Some of the chaos includes:
worker dropping large window from second story onto driveway, a million pieces of glass and nothing for clean up
using homeowner's tools without permission and either breaking them or loosing them
worker using homeowner's toilet without permission, stinking up the house, clogging the plumbing and leaving fecus behind on fixture
worker bringing his homemade window cleaner which leaked onto green carpeting, staining it
worker urinating in the yard while left completely alone
cutting telephone and computer lines, doing without service for days then WCV sent repair person muffed the rewiring
worker leaving door open and dog excaping property
breaking several pieces of furniture
putting a scratch on a family antique curio cabinet
knocking over a $7000 computerized sewing machine
working dislodging a toilet while prying out a window (supposed to be cut out) which caused seal breaking and slow leak--ruiened floor, wallpaper, cabinet, trim
** DOG DOOR
The homeowners picked from a catalog provided by the WCV salesman a dog door to be manufactured by WCV. It was listed on the contract. The dog door didn't come as promised and the homeowners were told that WCV had never made a dog door and that the salesman, Jim Hilton, had fabricated the story to make a sale and he was fired. They said that they would make the dog and bring it. They sent a worker with the dog door in January 05. It was purchased at Lowes. It did not fit. The worker damaged the sliding door trying to install it. An agreement was reached between WCV and Mr Homeowner, a civil engineer and WA PE that Mr Homeowner would go to Tacoma and design a dog door for manufacture. Mr Homeowner did this, added his PE seal, in exchange for $3K off the price of the windows as WCV would now have a prototype to use. 2 April 2005, the dog door came and was not what Mr Homeowner designed, did not fit, is not lockable, has large air gaps, and leaks. WCV will not deduct any money for the design of the dog door.
There wasn't another communication from WCV until 17 June 2006, in the form of a complaint (lawsuit). No mail, no bill, no collection agency inquiry, no telephone messages, nothing. The homeowners kept a detailed log, window inventory, took extensive pictures and had numerous witnesses.
4 August 2006, the homeowner's attorney, answered the complaint on the homeowner's behalf in Kitsap County Superior Court. The WCV's complaint(motion to compel a default arbirtation award) was vacated. This was because the complaint contained copies of letters from WCV's attorney and American Arbitration Association all stamped SENT VIA REGULAR MAIL informing the homeowner of an arbitration hearing. The judge ruled that the complainant could not prove anything was sent and should have used certified mail. The judge also vacated the order because of the letters to and from the AG, specifically WCV's opting out of free dispute resolution early on.
WCV motioned to compel arbitration and was awarded it. They called the homeowner's attorney and asked for the same arbitrator they claimed to have used before and were told no. This was the first sign of bias. Next they sent a list of arbitrators to choose from. The homeowners picked one through three of the choices from the list as all engineers. This was becasue it is a construction issue. They were not granted any of their choices, the arbitrator was J. Richard Manning, the choice of WCV. AAA set and cancelled several hearings. Ten days notice was given of the 1 February 07 hearing at the offices of Douglas Cloud, attorney for WCV, located in Tacoma, WA, 40 miles from the homeowner's house.
Mr Manning started the hearing with a granoise self importance desertation. He stated that he was currently leading arbitration with a long standing, large, and prominant law firm that was dissolving and disputing the distubution of the long term contract payments ($$$). He went into a lot of detail. When Ms Homeowner started nameing names he abruptly stated that he wouldn't discuss the matter any further. Unethical. The homeowners know whom he was speaking about.
Mr Manning did not give any further introductions, did not give any schedules, nor did he make any provisions for personal issues during the day as in bathroom or eating breaks. Five minutes into the hearing he told Mr Homeowner to shut up and not speak again for any reason unless he was being questioned by an attorney. Five plus hours later Mr Manning said that he was hungry and wanted a lunch break. Mr Homeowner was slumped in a chair and a 911 call was just missed because he is diabetic and went too long without food and medicine. In retrospect 911 should have definately been called.
Mr Manning called WCV's attorney, Douglas Cloud, Doug throughout the entire proceedings. Mr Manning called the homeowner's attorney, Walter Hackett, Counsel, throughout the entire proceedings.
Doug asked Mr Manning if he still had his boat and was told yes, and that it was moored in Everett.
Mr Manning allowed Doug to go down to his office and recopy documents he wanted to present because the ones he was using were too hard to read. Walter Hackett could not use some of the evidence because Mr Manning could not read it...
Mr Manning allowed copies (two separate pages) of what WCV claimed to be the original contract to be entered as evidence even after the defendant's objecting. The homeowners both testified that they would not agree that the signitures on the first page of the copies were theirs until they could compare them to the orginal. Also they would not agree that the second page that was not initalled or signed, but contained the binding arbitration language, was valid or even on the back of the original contract. They could not produce a two sided copy. Also Mr Manning allowed Sherry Black, office manager WCV, to testify to the fact that they did indeed have the original contract BACK AT THE OFFICE. The homeowners feel strongly that this was because without the binding arbitration language Mr Manning would not be presiding at the hearing and not receiving any compensation ($$$$$)!
Mr Manning made Ms Homeowner move from her seat next to her attorney to the corner away from the table. This was because she was writing notes to her attorney and referring to two notebooks full of information and pictures. The homeowners insist that their defense was compermised by not being able to fully participate.
Mr Manning coached Doug Cloud several times. Specifically he told him that he would advise backing away from introducing questions regarding the UCC Act. This was after Mr Hackett started running off presedents and arguing why it was not applicable.
Mr Manning told the homeowners that when he saw the case his first thought was that we got a great deal because of getting so many windows for such a low price. He also said that we should have had fiberglass windows put in as he did on his 1920 built West Queen Anne hill home, that they were top of the line. Too much information again, and another illustration of bias.
WCV had only two witnesses at the hearing. The first one, Sherry Black, was the office manager. She testified to the fact the orginal contract was in the office, "somewhere". She also testified that the windows were installed in a workmanlike manner, even after being challenged and admitting that she had never installed a window and besides having no experience she had no training in the area. She had no information with her as to work schedules, time tables, personnal involved, telephone log, and most of her answers to the questions asked of her were, "I don't know", or "it don't matter". She wasn't sure how many times she tried to contact the homeowners via telephone, her best guess was three. She did not know if the homeowners had an answering machine, but was sure that she didn't leave any messages. She never sent anything via the mail or by e-mail to the homeowners.
The second witness for WCV was Bill Cody. He is the, "new" installation manager, replacing Jim Foust who was terminated for failing to supervise the job at our home. He never worked at our home. His response to the pictures and testimony concerning the windows and property damage was inadequate. The most gregious was his comments to a window frame (2x4) being cracked extensivly was that it happens all the time. Mr Manning was shaking his head in agreement, even after Mr Homeowner--the engineer--testified that it was a load bearing wall and was unsatifactory and not according to code.
The homeowners both testified in great detail incorporating a time line log, pictures, window inventory, damage inventory and offering several proposals from professionals for remedies. Mr Homeowner, the engineer, was very explicit in his technical testimony. This is why an engineer would have been a more fair choice.
The homeowners had two expert witnesses. The first, Gerald Young, JP Air Restroration, Medallian Healthy Homes, testified in great detail after preformaing an evaluation and inspection of the homeowner's home. He had a sophisticated report with pictures and his insturement readings with comparables to the exceptable levels for moisture and mold evasion. Secondary to his testimony about the mold and moisture concerns, he testified to the workmanship of the windows and the installation. Mr Young was a general contractor prior to owning this business and met the credentials for installing vinyl windows. He testified to the future loses the homeowner would have due to the condition of the windows. He testified that he was not paid for his testimony that day.
The second expert witness was Ted Apeland. He was formally the owner of Bremerton Glass--over 25 years. After the business was dissolved he has been a general contractor. He testified in simple, but complete detail what was wrong with the windows, why they were not manufactured or installed according to industry standards, and what problems would occur if they were left in their current condition. He also stated he had preformed work for the homeowners on four separate occassions and that the homeowners were not cronic complainers and he didn't have any problems getting paid for his work upon completion. This was in rebutle to WCV's premice that we were out of control complainers and were just trying to get free windows. He testified that he was not paid by the homeowners for his testimony that day.
In closing Mr Cloud called the homeowners liers about testifying that they didn't receive the SENT VIA REGUALAR MAIL corespondence. He said that it wasn't believable. He said that it also wasn't believable that Mr Young and Mr Apeland weren't paid for their testimony. He stated that the homeowners had refused to let WCV finish the job.
In closing Mr Hackett pointed out that no one from WCV that was at the homeowner's home was present at the hearing; no workers, no salesman, no manager, nor any owners. He pointed out that the court had vacated motion. He pointed out the refusal of WCV to work with the AG. He pointed out that there was not a final walk through or signing off of the job. He pointed out that no bill was sent by WCV asking for payment. He stated the fact that there was no original contract presented.
The Arbitration Award
Mr Manning found for the claimant. No explanations were given. The document is dated 14 February 2007 and was received by the homeowners 28 February 2007, with all amounts (?) due with 12% interest starting 14 February. There are all sorts of figures listed, with no totals or no explanation of who or where to send the money awarded. The arbitration amount is to be paid by the homeowners because Mr Manning states that it was the second arbitration----even though the court vacated #1!!!!
The homeowners attorney cannot be reached at this time for advise!
We feel that WCV was negligent in thier actions and let too much time elapse in order to prevail. We also believe that Mr Manning and American Arbitration Association were completely biased. All interested parties are encouraged to comment on this matter, or share any stories of experience with WCV.